Activities report 2022-23

Activities report 2022-23

Category : Message 70 en

Former Officials’ Section
Executive Secretary: François Kientzler
Activities report 2022-23

The end of the COVID pandemic in the summer of 2022 resulted in the return of the members of the Board of the Former Officials Section to ILO premises. This facilitated the resumption of contacts with active staff and, above all, with the Staff Union’s Committee, Chairperson and secretariat.

Continuing the activities of the members of the Board

The Former Officials Section was absent from the ILO for two and a half years due because of COVID. Since its return in September 2022, it has met regularly once a month.  The Board has been expanded to include young retirees, but there are still vacancies; we can have up to ten members.  Elections to the Board are scheduled before the end of 2023. The process is underway.

Impact of COVID on secretarial work

We had our own way of working before the pandemic, and we were surprised to find that while we were away from the ILO, new applications and practices had been put in place. When we returned to the office, nothing worked, neither computers nor printers. We had to call in the IT technicians and the Staff Union secretaries to bring us up to date. We now have two laptops like other members of staff, so we can work from home.

Our means of communication and information

Fortunately, in 2016 we chose to host our website outside the ILO. This decision enabled us to keep control of it and our webmaster to feed it at our request; the website receives hundreds of visitors every month. We continue to publish our “Message” magazine, which is especially welcome among those who don’t use the Internet. We respond to individual requests and maintain our contacts with the Staff Union, HRD, the Staff Health Insurance Fund and other Common System retiree organizations, notably AAFI-AFICS, where three of our colleagues represent us on the Committee.

SHIF Centenary and Retirees’ Reception: 8 December 2022

The Centenary of the SHIF was well attended by retirees. On the same day, retirees from the Geneva area were invited by the ILO Administration to the autumn reception. It was an eagerly awaited event: the last reception had been held in December 2019. Over 200 people registered for this friendly cocktail party, which also welcomed participants from the SHIF Centenary AGM that had just been held.

Meeting of the Section Bureau with Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General of the ILO on 8 April 2023

This was an opportunity for the Board of the Former Officials’ Section to meet the new DG, to explain the objectives and raison d’être of the Section, and to listen to his objectives for the ILO. He expressed his concern at seeing economic progress take precedence over social progress, and is showing his determination to work to ensure that social issues, like climate change, are at the heart of the global debate.

Information meeting on 25 May 2023

This meeting, organized by the Board of the Section, was held in person and by video-conference. The first part focused on the digital certificate of pension entitlement. In order to simplify and speed up the Certificate of Entitlement (CE) process, an alternative to the CE form has been created: the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE). The paper form can still be used, and the document sent electronically.

The second part of the meeting focused on developments at the SHIF. A dedicated Call Center now handles telephone calls. A satisfaction survey was carried out among policyholders. While 62% of active policyholders are satisfied with the SHIF, this rate rises to over 85% among retirees.

Our immediate concerns

One of our concerns is the lack of access to the external offices in the field, for our retirees living in the regions. If this is possible in Geneva, it must also be possible everywhere else. We have just learned that the ILO has embarked on a policy of restricting access to the building for retirees from other organizations. We are surprised by such a decision, and intend to take action with the representatives of retirees from other organizations to return to the situation of the past.  What’s more, ILO retirees have access to the other organizations, so it’s only normal that reciprocity should remain. After all, isn’t the ILO everyone’s home, and particularly that of workers, whether active or retired?