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UN Confirms Layoff Letters Despite Libya Plan, Nothing on Aramark Layoffs

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 2, updated -- The UN has confirmed to Inner City Press that it has sent layoff notices (or "your post does not exist" letters, in UN-ese) to Department of Safety and Security staff members. In this month of December, can the jobs be saved?

  Earlier today, after receiving numerous complaints, Inner City Press made several inquiries and published a story about the layoffs, or ten officers who received letters, and asked why they couldn't for example be placed in the new security mission in Libya. [See below.]

  After publishing that exclusive first story, at the day's noon briefing, Inner City Press put the question to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky. He said his office was already looking into it. And later, this arrived, which we publish in full:

Subject: Your question on UN Security personnel
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 1:19 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Regarding your question at noon about security posts, the Spokesperson has the following to say:

The security posts in question are posts that were temporarily created to support the Capital Master Plan (CMP). The “associated costs” for the CMP, which is the funding source for these temporary posts, ends on 31 December 2013.

However, over the last 18 months, the Organization has put a great deal of effort into saving as many jobs as possible for these affected staff members. This has included finding posts within the Security and Safety Service at the UN Headquarters, as well as other UN security services globally, General Service posts, and field assignments. Of the 68 officers considered in the temporary hiring associated with the Capital Master Plan, there are 10 officers remaining on the list for placement.

  Again we note this: a UN Security person working in New York on a G4 visa, if they took the post to protect the UN Mission in Libya, their family would have to leave the US in thirty days. This is also the UN's hammer over whisteblowers.

  Meanwhile, inside the UN itself, for weeks those working in the Delegates' Dining Room have been asking why their place of work, run by the contractor Aramark, will close on December and not re-open. Aramark had been reducing services, cutting the hours of the staff cafeteria for example, with the UN saying nothing.

  When Inner City Press has asked about the enforced layoffs by Aramark of workers in the UN, the UN has shifted from saying it cares about the principles preached by the International Labor Organization to saying this is entirely up to the contractor -- a defense used then rejected by apparel makers like Levis, the Gap and Nikes. But not the UN.

  On November 29, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's top two spokespeople:

"Please confirm or deny that Aramark will cease mid-day service (and cut back on workers) in the Delegates Dining Room from December 20 on, and explain the UN's role in reduction of service and employment by Aramark, and when their contract with the UN will expire."

  So far no answer, including to other questions including these two, on labor relations and UMOJA/ waste at the UN:

"With the UN Staff Union election upcoming and dispute ranging from term limits to how voters are grouped and accredited, please describe the role of the UN and OHRM, including in light of a statement by ASG Pollard that 'OHRM had been in contact with Mr. Auda, Chairman of the Polling Officers, continually between 7 October when the second list of staff (as vetted by EOs was transmitted to him) and 28 October, 2013; and

"With regard to UMOJA, please respond to the (whistleblowers') critique that the project now uses 'Nova to assign expenses retroactively, for many years; it costs in fact much more than $200,000 $ only to capture the data."

Watch this site.

Update: the UN Spokesperson's office also sent this to Inner City Press:

Subject: Press release from the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on a guard team for its headquarters
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Clarification by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya On the Allocation of a Guard Team for its Headquarters in Tripoli

Tripoli, 28 November 2013-

The United Nations Security Council has given initial approval to the request of the United Nations Secretary General regarding the enhancement of the protection of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) through a dedicated guard team for its headquarters in Tripoli. This team should not exceed 235 elements, including a number of administrative and services staff. The functions of aforementioned team shall be limited to the protection of the office and accommodation premises occupied by UNSMIL staff members. The scope of its work shall not exceed the perimeters of UNSMIL headquarters.

The Mission had already informed the competent Libyan authorities that it is in the process of preparing for this measure, which was discussed by the Security Council. Once all needed measures are finalized, and as per the applicable international customs and principles, the United Nations shall send an official letter in which it will inform the Libyan authorities of those measure seeking necessary approval.

The Mission reiterates that the guard team will not be tasked with any role beyond the function for which it was established, and that the formation of such team is a common practice adopted by international organizations and embassies in a large number of countries for ensuring the safety of its staff and premises.

  We'll have more on this.


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