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Ban Called NY Staff Union Selfish, Now Stands Behind Remark, Resolution Pends

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 23 -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on January 22 answered Inner City Press' question about opposition to his "mobility" plan to move staff out of New York by calling the UN Staff Union in New York "selfish."

   On January 23, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey about the Staff Union's response that "it is very sad that the Secretary-General never cared to ask us why we didn't agree to this mobility proposal [but] instead, he decided to rely solely on whatever his close collaborators chose to tell him."

  Inner City Press asked, are the members of the UN Staff Union in New York misunderstanding? Is "selfish" really the word? Video here from Minute 10:18.

  Del Buey claimed that all other staff associations support Ban's plans, they "live in Quonset huts" and "can't leave their compounds... they've been there for many years." Video here, from Minute 11:07

   Then Del Buey said, "the Secretary General stands firmly behind what he said yesterday" (video here, from Minute 11:50) - which includes calling the NY Staff Union and its members "selfish." Is this effective diplomacy? We'll see.

   The Staff Union has circulated a draft resolution which would have the Union "noting that the Secretary-General has instructed substantive departments within the organization to come up with an additional $100 million in budget reductions to be achieved mainly through cuts in staffing;

   "Alarmed that the senior management of the Organization has withheld plans and proposals that will weaken the United Nations, severely impact staff safety and security, and dismantle the international civil service; To express our dismay that the Organization has further eroded the trust of staff in senior management by failing to conduct, in an open and transparent manner, genuine and constructive consultations on matters involving staff welfare and working conditions;

"To call upon the Secretary-General to hold his senior managers accountable for mismanagement

"To urge the Secretary-General to immediately implement a hiring freeze on all external employment across all levels and categories of staff of the Organization; and

"to discuss our confidence in the Secretary-General and his senior management team at that time.

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