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After UN Staff Vote "No Confidence" In Ban Ki-moon, He Blames GA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 -- Blame for the breakdown in UN labor relations is being passed to the General Assembly by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. But is the GA the reason why the Staff Union voted "no confidence" in Ban earlier this year?

  On June 17, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey about a story it had exclusively published the day previous: the abrupt termination of the UN Staff Management Committee meeting in Mexico City on June 14.

  The Staff Union said that Ban's Secretariat gave a proposal late that sought to abrogate their negotiating rights. But Del Buey on June 17 blamed it all on the General Assembly, and said the proposal had been given four weeks in advance. From the UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: there was this meeting in Mexico City of the Staff Management Committee and the staff union has said that, basically, the Secretariat tried to abrogate their negotiating rights and ended the meeting several days early, including wasting resources of people that flew down there. Is there some response from the Secretariat to the claim by their union that they are not negotiating in good faith and wasted resources?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: As a matter of fact there is.

Inner City Press: Great. Letís do it.

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: The Staff-Management Committee meeting in Mexico City (SMC-II) ended prematurely on Friday, as you have well noted. The impasse arose related to the role of the Committee itself which, since 2011, has been governed by the Secretary-Generalís bulletin (ST/SGB/2011/6), which provides that issues be resolved by consensus. The General Assembly, in its resolution 67/255, requested that the bulletin be revised in line with existing staff regulations. A draft revised bulletin was shared with members of the Staff-Management Committee, which removed the requirement for agreement by consensus.

Staff representatives disagreed with the General Assembly. While we recognize the importance of this issue to staff representatives, the position of the Member States is clear and the administration cannot revisit the issue with the General Assembly, as suggested by staff representatives.

Management demonstrated flexibility and encouraged the staff representatives at the SMC-II on several occasions to provide constructive suggestions that could be incorporated into the draft revision of the said resolution. Regrettably, staff representatives at SMC-II were not prepared to stick to the program of work that had been agreed upon and discussed the many other important agenda items. It was, therefore, not possible to continue this meeting.

Inner City Press: Can I just ask, because I have seen the president of the unionís e-mail saying that managementís presentation of this issue was done after the document submission deadline, at the eleventh hour, so if it was so clear, why didnít the Secretariat tell them in advance? Probably you could have figured it out it was going to break down in Mexico. Is it the case that this was turned into, to the other side too late?

Deputy Spokesperson: I donít believe it was; I believe it was sent about four weeks prior to the meeting.

  We'll have more on this. But it is clear that the Staff Union's "no confidence" in Ban Ki-moon resolution, overwhelmingly adopted earlier this year, cannot be blamed on the General Assembly. Watch this site.

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