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As UN Banned Staff Union Views in Mexico City Talks, Seeks to Ban Dissent

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 19 -- In the aftermath of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's labor negotiating team rebuffing the Staff Union requests at a meeting that collapsed last week in Mexico City, there are called to go beyond the already in-place "no confidence" in Ban Ki-moon resolution adopted earlier this year.

  Outraged staff have exclusively told Inner City Press about a meeting of Ban's Senior Management Group held in the UN before the Mexico City fiasco, at which they say management decided they don't need anything from the staff, even to listen.

  The more manicured version of this position is in a posting they tell Inner City Press went out on June 17 -- when Inner City Press formally asked about the Mexico City melt down, after first publishing the story the day previous -- and then was, they say, quickly replaced by a post by Ban's head of management Yukio Takasu:

Letter from the Secretary-General to all staff on Staff-Management Committee

Posted: Monday 17 June 2013, New York | Author: Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon I am concerned to learn that discussions at the Staff-Management Committee meeting in Mexico City (SMC-II) ended prematurely on Friday with many important matters of concern to staff remaining to be discussed. These include downsizing, mobility, implementation of travel policy, administration of justice, the competency framework, roster management, local salary surveys and performance management. I place great importance on consultations with staff on all issues related to staff welfare, and remain committed to the harmonious and consensual resolution of all staff-management issues.

Regrettably an impasse arose related to the role of the Committee itself. In 2011 I promulgated a new Secretary-General’s bulletin on the Staff-Management Committee (ST/SGB/2011/6) to strengthen mechanisms for staff-management consultations by establishing a forum for staff and management to identify, examine and resolve issues by consensus. However, the General Assembly requested that it be revised in line with existing staff regulations. A revised bulletin was shared with members of the SMC to facilitate consultations at this year’s Staff-Management Committee. It better aligned the role of the Committee with staff regulation 8.2, stipulating that the Committee would advise the Secretary-General on human resources polices and general conditions of staff welfare but removed the requirement for consensus.

Understandably, Staff Union representatives at SMC-II felt the 2011 bulletin better supported the SMC and should be retained. They called for management “to withdraw the proposed changes and send a clear message to the General Assembly that it supports the current SMC process as key to ensuring constructive staff-management dialogue, in line with the Staff Rules and Regulations and General Assembly resolutions. The unions believe that withdrawal of the proposed changes and reaffirmation of the current SMC process are required for an agreed outcome of SMC II.”

While recognizing the importance placed by staff representatives on retaining the current Secretary-General’s bulletin, the position of Member States, taken after months of discussion, is clear. I therefore do not consider it fruitful to revisit the issue with the General Assembly. Regrettably staff representatives at SMC-II were not prepared to discuss the many other important agenda items - in-spite of the meeting's agenda having been rearranged specifically to allow for a full extra day of discussion on this matter - until the issue of the revised SGB was concluded, the draft was withdrawn or its consideration was postponed until the next SMC in 2014. Under these circumstances, and with no possibility to complete the other agenda items, it was not possible to continue the meeting.

While I am very disappointed at these developments, I continue to value the contribution of staff and their representatives. With so many significant reform initiatives under way, this is particularly crucial. I remain committed to constructive dialogue and maintaining continuous contact and communication with staff. I sincerely hope the present impasse can soon be resolved through flexible and constructive discussions. This is in our shared best interest.

  Ban's UN does not like dissent, even if productive and constructive, it seems. Another symptom of this is the fixation by Ban's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit in demanding the take-down of even a sign of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, which is advocating to maintain pre-Ban precedents to cover the Security Council and General Assembly, while trying to leave up two signs of UNCA, the UN's Censorship Alliance with which Ban partners.

 The joke is that Ban wishes he could find a faux union like UNCA. Watch this site.

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