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STU Flash, 10 April 2019

Oral Statement by the STU, 206th session of the Executive Board

STU/68th Council/19/009
10 April 2019


206th session of the Executive Board of UNESCO



Thank you Mrs Chairperson, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Once again, the STU regrets that its comments to the documents submitted to it are ignored more often than not, without any justification being given for such contempt. The revised mobility policy is the latest example. UNESCO is a highly specialized agency and the only United Nations agency with a mandate for education, science and culture: special attention should therefore be paid to take into account expertise and professional experience when re-assigning colleagues for the successful implementation of the programmes. The gender dimension must also be taken into account: to date, while men are usually accompanied by their families to duty stations that allow it, women usually go alone. This situation is discriminatory.

The STU had requested that a list of clear and precise criteria be provided and followed by HRM to ensure a transparent and rigorous exercise, and that incentives for career development be put in place. None of this has been retained. Without transparency, the choices appear arbitrary. The definition of criteria as the process unfolds, as HRM described at a meeting on the subject, is not a serious approach.

In addition, the STU has learned that the implementation of the United Nations mobility policy has been suspended by the Secretary-General for an assessment. While HRM claims to have been inspired by systems in place in various UN agencies, why should UNESCO serve as a laboratory of experiments before the results of this evaluation are revealed?

In addition, the STU is worried about growing insecurity in our Organisation. The non-staff colleagues, under service contracts, consultants, temporary staff or interns make up today more than half of the Organisation’s work force and often perform core tasks, compensating for the lack of staff and creating modern slavery. This is illegal and unworthy of an international organisation, where the right to decent work should be the basis of human resource management. As a result, the Organisation is significantly losing its knowledge whereas the institutional memory is essential for a solid foundation. The STU regrets that HRM did not seize the opportunity of the recent revision of the recruitment policy, once again without taking account of STU comments, to find a mechanism to improve the situation of our long-term precarious colleagues, for example by considering Project Appointment (PA) colleagues as internal candidates.

In general, the STU is concerned that the process of strategic transformation is moving into the active phase of adopting human resources policies that do not respect the specialized expertise of UNESCO staff and are not conducive to proper career management and planning.

Lastly, the STU regrets that the alerts it launches are paid very little or no attention, which has led to many convictions of UNESCO by the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labor Organization (ILOAT). Until the revision of the statutes of the Appeals Board, the STU hopes for the establishment of equitable justice, as it is about time for the Administration to finally trust the staff associations. With their experience and institutional memory, they are partners that the Administration needs. In five years, we had six directors of human resources. We hope the next will take the time to get to know and love this House it deserves as much.

Thank you for your attention.