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STU Flash, 16 April 2019

Request for the Suspension of the Implementation of the Mobility Policy

STU/68th Council/19/010
16 April 2019


Dear colleagues,

The STU takes note of the critical comments made by Member States on staff policies during this session of the Executive Board.

The fact that HRM did not consider it relevant to consult Legal Affairs on the Mobility Policy, against the background of numerous cases lost by UNESCO at the ILO Administrative Tribunal, perfectly illustrates the disturbing and preposterous situation of late.

The mobility policy does not seem to reflect any of the considerations and commitments that are at the core of the strategic transformation, such as strengthening the management culture or the workforce rationalization, with a view to enhanced institutional efficiency. While its implementation has already begun, the mobility policy announced as “fair and transparent” is based in fact on opaque criteria that are applied on a case-by-case basis. The criteria outlined in an HRM PowerPoint have no legal validity. Moreover, the circular exists only in English.

In addition, many colleagues have alerted the STU to the use of criteria never spelt out in the circular such as “continuity”, or “awaiting  a possible reclassification audit”, or how to define what is a "functional change", or very questionably applied (the retirement age considered was 65 for all staff, even for those who have the right to retire at 62!) or the use of terms open to interpretation, for example, “within 2 years” according to the language version. The list is long.

To act in this fashion is in contempt of our calls for clarity and transparency for a mobility policy that, on one hand, can enhance and support the efficiency and pertinence of the expertise of our Organization, and on the other hand, ensure the career development of its staff.

Staff motivation is key to serving the best interests of our Member States. However, 20% of the staff members are stuck at the highest step of their grade (347 staff members!) and completely ignored in this mobility policy: the same grade policy deprives them of any incentive and recognition of their competences. It is proof of the total lack of reflection and resolve on the Administration’s part to provide new career development paths at UNESCO.

Pending the results of the review of the UN “mobility framework” decided by the Secretary-General, we call for an immediate suspension of the implementation of the mobility policy.

We invite the Administration to open a space for reflection with the staff to discuss the Organization’s staff policies package (mobility, career development, recruitment) drawing on best practices from other highly specialized organizations.

Best regards,

The STU Council.