At the beginning of 2016, three new women members joined the Bureau of the Former Officials’ Section, to which they have brought a breath of fresh air: Kitty Hooton, Elizabeth Sommaro and Cherry Thompson-Senior. The Section was nevertheless sad to have to record the resignation for medical reasons of Robert Falaize, one of its founder members, who has been a most active influence for some 30 years. It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Clément Roche, who was especially concerned with tax issues.
The Bureau met regularly twice a month to discuss the latest developments concerning the ILO Staff Health Insurance Fund and the common system’s Pension Fund, inter alia. Other issues debated included the future of the SHIF and the regular discussion in the ILO Governing Body and UN General Assembly of health insurance coverage for retirees, under the heading of ASHI (After Service Health Insurance). We at the ILO are also much attached to our Pension Fund, a fact that the Section keeps very much in mind. Since the Fund changed its computer system, delays of several months have occurred in the settlement of initial claims and, together with our colleagues in the Staff Union, the Section has approached the Fund’s administration to come up with and implement appropriate solutions. The Section actively supported the Staff Union in its “No Pay Cut” campaign to prevent the reduction of salary to Professional staff. It also responded regularly to requests for advice and help from individual retirees and their families.
One of the Section’s projects that was successfully completed in 2016 was the launching of its own website: http://www.anciens-bit-ilo.org. The site is now up and running and our colleagues are cordially invited to tune in. It has been designed to bring former ILO officials closer together, to inform them quickly of any important developments and to facilitate access to the Pension Fund, SHIF, Staff Union, etc. Visitors to the site will also discover albums of photos of various notable events. In a word, the site should allow all our colleagues living far from Geneva to feel linked by a personal bond.
On 30 March 2017 the Bureau was received by the Director-General, Mr. Guy Ryder – the first meeting of its kind for several years. At the meeting the Bureau presented a report on its activities, with the emphasis on its attachment to the SHIF and the need to improving its management and governance. The Centenary of the ILO in 2019 is an occasion that the Section is looking forward to celebrating, and several suggestions were accordingly passed on to the Director-General (see page the report on our meeting with the DG). The Bureau laid particular stress on the situation of our retired colleagues and on the difficulties faced by many of those living far from Geneva and outside Europe.
Some 150 colleagues from the Geneva area participated in the information meeting organized by the Section on 19 October 2016. The first part of the meeting dealt with the recent computerization of the Pension Fund and with members’ online access to their personal data. The second part with health insurance issues. The SHIF. Participation in our annual meeting is an important occasion for encouraging retirees to join the Former Officials’ Section. A substantial number of retirees played an active part in the General Meeting of the SHIF last year in September.
The Message continued to appear twice a year, thanks to its editor, Ivan Elsmark, and his colleagues and volunteers. The Executive Secretary took part in meetings of the Association of Former International Civil Servants (AAFI-AFICS), and the Bureau maintains good relations with the other associations of former officials in Geneva. The Arts Circle has been active and in October 2016 it held a second exhibition in the Colonnade at headquarters. A third exhibition in October 2017 gave 30 ILO artists the opportunity to show their paintings, sculptures, photographs and craftwork to the admiration of many visitors.
The Bureau of the Former Officials’ Section maintains an effective cooperation with the Staff Union Committee, for which it thanks the Chairperson and the Committee. It appreciates the pleasant working relationship which greatly facilitates dealing with current issues of concern.
This report would not be complete without mentioning the annual receptions for retirees that are held in May and December each year at the invitation of the ILO Director-General and which are a privileged opportunity for former ILO officials to meet again on familiar ground. The Director-General’s attendance on these occasions is greatly appreciated by all our former colleagues.