Articles: Archives

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Union action “NoPayCut”

Category : Archives

Staff Union Broadcast of 3 July 2019

Dear colleagues,

The patience of colleagues affected by the wage dispute in Geneva has been severely tested in recent months, but the long-awaited decision of the ILO Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) has finally arrived.

Please find below the decision which is a VICTORY for the complainants and the Staff Union:

DECISION (Judgment No. 4134)

For the above reasons,

1. The impugned decisions of 28 September 2018 and 18 October 2018 are set aside.

2. The complainants’ and interveners’ April 2018 payslips and all subsequent payslips implementing the ICSC’s contested decisions regarding the revised post adjustment for the duty station of Geneva are set aside.

3. The ILO shall provide the complainants and interveners with new revised payslips as from the April 2018 payslip with a post adjustment multiplier not based on the revised post adjustment index resulting from the 2016 cost-of-living survey.

4. The ILO shall pay each complainant and each intervener an amount equivalent to the difference between the remuneration actually paid to them since April 2018 and the remuneration that would have been paid to them during the same period but for the implementation of the ICSC decisions, with interest at the rate of 5 per cent per annum from due dates until the date of final payment.

5. All other claims are dismissed.

This decision must now be thoroughly analysed by our legal adviser before the ILO Staff Union can pronounce itself on it, as the stakes are so high for the future of work and the international civil service, both at headquarters and in the field.

In any case, the Staff Union wishes to pay tribute to the tenacity and commitment shown by all its members in this conflict over the past three years. It would particularly like to thank all colleagues based in the field and/or belonging to different categories of staff, who have demonstrated a truly remarkable trade union solidarity of which the ILO Staff Union as a whole can be proud. On the eve of its own centenary, the Staff Union will continue to fight tirelessly to ensure that professional relations within the United Nations system are in line with the ILO’s mandate, values and principles.

Updates September 2017

Union: message following CFPI meeting July 2017

ILO information on post adjustment

Former officials’ message

In the name of the Committee of the Section of Former Officials of the ILO Staff Union, I assure you of our support for the action you have taken against the reduction in the Geneva post adjustment following the decision of the CFPI, which was based on incomprehensible analysis and issues and which resulted in§§ unjust financial conclusions. We congratulate the Union Committee on the leading role it has taken in this action and we personally appreciated the mobilization you engendered during the demonstration on Wednesday 24 May 2017.

May 2017

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ILO Centenary: Save the dates! 28 May and 11 July 2019

Category : Archives

28 May 2019: Cocktail to celebrate the ILO Centenary

The Section of Former ILO Officials is organizing a programme of activities commencing at 15.00 in R3 Room II followed by a cocktail at 17.00 in Les Gobelins in celebration of the ILO Centenary on Tuesday 28 May 2019. The Director General, Guy Ryder, will address retirees during the afternoon.

11 July 2019: Centenary Lunch with the Director General

The Director General will be inviting retirees to a lunch to be held on 11 July 2019.

Full information and invitations to these events will be sent later but reserve the dates now in your agendas!

Other events

You may also be interested to know that a visit to the old ILO building, now occupied by the World Trade Organization, is being organized by the ILO for participants of the International Conference noted below which we believe is open to retirees to attend. We understand the visit is planned for 16 April. Anyone wishing to register for this Conference should do so directly with the ILO.

15-17 April: International Conference ILO100: Law for Social Justice, ILO Headquarters, Geneva

The Section of Former Officials is also looking into the possibility of organizing a separate visit to the old ILO buildings in the autumn and further information will be provided if and when available.


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Tuesday, 22 January 2019: Two events at ILO headquarters

Category : Archives

The Protocol Service of the ILO has the honour to forward an invitation from the ILO Director-General to the following events, which will take place on Tuesday, 22 January 2019, at ILO headquarters in Geneva:

  • the launch of the report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work, at 10:30 a.m. in the ILO Governing Body Room (R3-south) [Retired colleagues who are in Geneva are kindly invited to follow the event from Room II (R3, south), where there will be live relay, so as to give constituents and invited guests priority access to the Governing Body room. The event can also be followed through the ILO website: or], and
  • the official ILO Centenary launch ceremony, at 4:00 p.m. in the ILO Colonnade (R2).

Launch of the report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work:

The report of the Global Commission on the Future of Work will be available on the ILO website (–en/index.htm) as from 10.30 a.m. (Geneva time) on 22 January 2019. Copies of the report (in the seven ILO working languages) will be available in the Governing Body room.

After the presentation of the report of the Global Commission at 10:30 a.m., the floor will be opened for questions.

Please note that a high level of attendance is expected, so participants are advised to arrive at the ILO at least 15 minutes before the start of the event. The event will be retransmitted in room II.

The official ILO Centenary launch (ILO Colonnade – R2):

The official ILO Centenary launch will commence at 4:00 p.m. in the ILO Colonnade with short introductory statements from the ILO Director-General and the Officers of the Governing Body. The ceremony will be followed by a reception.

Kindly note that access to ILO headquarters will be through either door 4 (R2-South) or door 5 (R2-North), on presentation of a valid ILO badge or photo ID and a copy of the invitation below.

Please confirm your attendance by 18 January 2019 at the following email address, indicating your arrival time:

ILO Protocol

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Latest on the UN Pension Fund

Category : Archives

65th Pension Board meeting in Rome

Soon after the publication of the previous update in Message 63, the UN Joint Staff Pension Board met in Rome from 26 July to 3 August 2018 to discuss the current situation of the Pension Fund, and in particular, the Office of Internal Oversight’s report on the governance of the Fund (see below).

Office of Internal Oversight Services Governance Audit

Of the thirteen OIOS recommendations, the Board accepted six and rejected seven, the most notable of which are mentioned below. The recommendations and the Board’s comments on these are taken from document A/73/341 to the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. The paper was discussed by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) in November 2018 (

Notable recommendations rejected by the Board :

  • Proposed changes to the representation and rotation of member organizations on the Fund Board. The Board rejected the recommendation as currently formulated and stated that it intends to establish a working group to “consider issues of participation, rotation and fair and equitable representation, without any presumption of outcome and taking into account the Board’s previous review on the matter.”
  • Proposed separation of the function of the Board Secretary and the Fund’s Chief Executive Officer, and creation of a new independent Board Secretariat. The Board indicated that it considers the creation of an additional body to serve as Board Secretariat to be unnecessary and could have bu8dgetary implications. The Board stated that it would establish mechanisms to ensure the proper segregation of roles, such as in relation to the setting of the Board’s agenda.
  • The proposal that the Board should determine the number of seats to be allotted to retiree representatives and facilitate their direct election as full Board members with voting rights. Currently representatives from the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS) defend the interests of retirees at the Board and fully participate in the Board with the exception that they do not have a vote. The Board rejected this recommendation because it would undermine the tripartite nature of the Board and because retirees are not affiliated with member organizations. Concerns were also expressed about the potential cost and the doubt that direct elections would in reality improve retiree representation.

See document A/73/341 OIOS Report to the UN General Assembly on the Governance Audit (, document A/73/9 Report of the UNJSPF Board’s Report on the OIOS Governance Audit ( and OIOS’ comments on the UNJSPF Board’s Report ( for further information.

Financial health of the Fund

Following the meeting in Rome the Board issued a communiqué, which confirmed the information given in our previous article: that the Fund is currently in sound financial health. The Fund assets at 31 December 2017 were $64.1 billion with a small actuarial deficit of 0.05% of pensionable remuneration. The investment performance for 2017 was extremely strong (due to buoyant financial markets during that year but which are unlikely to continue in the medium-term), achieving a nominal investment return of 18.6%, thus exceeding the 3.5% real rate of return needed to ensure the Fund’s long-term solvency. Now a mature Fund, the ratio of beneficiaries to active participants is growing and benefits exceeded contributions by some $272 million in 2017.  It should also be noted that the number of active participants actually fell in 2017 by 1.2% as against the actuarial assumption for 2017 of a 0.5% increase. The Board is aware that there is no room for complacency and that it is more vital than ever that the investment performance meets or exceeds the target of 3.5% annual real rate of return.

Operational issues

The Board stated that following the clearance of backlogs between August 2015 and the second half of 2017, IPAS is now functioning satisfactorily albeit with room for improvement. Nevertheless, only 62% – against a target of 75% – of cases had been processed in 2017 within 15 working days of the receipt of complete documents.

 Human Resources

In the last update we advised that the CEO, Sergio Arvizu, had been on long-term sick leave since August 2017. It has now been confirmed that he will leave the UN on 7 January 2019.  The Deputy CEO was due to retire at the end of August 2018 but was extended up to 31 December 2018 while the process to find his replacement was underway. Unfortunately, following allegations by the UN participants’ representatives of irregularities in the recruitment procedures and the selected candidate’s qualification for the post, the candidate withdrew his candidacy. At the time of writing we do not know where the process to replace the CEO and Deputy CEO currently stands.

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Council of the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS) (FFAO, Rome, 20-25 July 2018)

Category : Archives

As is the case every year during the summer period, representatives of the International Civil Servants Associations, many spread around the world, and members of FAFICS, met in Rome. The Section of Former ILO Officials does not participate but is represented by AAFI-AFICS Geneva. François Kientzler, Executive Secretary and Abdoulaye Diallo, Deputy Executive Secretary, are members of the AAFI-AFICS Board and represent the Section. We cannot be nominees for the AAFI-AFICS delegation to the FAFICS Council as only elected members (natural persons) can be selected. We could participate as observers but this choice has not been made in recent years given the past dysfunctions of FAFICS.

However, we would like to bring to your attention information which we have learned through AAFI-AFICS on the results of issues which are of regular concern to the Section. With regard to the Pension Fund, AAFI-AFICS delegates were aware of an OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight) audit on the governance of the Fund. Some of the recommendations proposed go against the interests of FAFICS and call into question its ability to represent all the pensioners of the Common System. Representatives of FAFICS currently participate in the work of the Pension Board (although they do not have a vote). A recommendation by OIOS proposes the direct election of retiree representatives and thus dismisses the representatives of FAFICS; such a proposal is not acceptable to FAFICS which would thereby be stripped of one of its essential missions. Another proposal concerns the representation of the various International Organizations that are members of the Pension Board Committee: that this representation should be reviewed in favour of the United Nations, which would then have an absolute majority in the Pension Committee, and smaller Organizations no longer have a representative. (See article on the meeting of the Rome Pension Committee following the meeting of FAFICS).

The respective presentations by the Deputy CEO (Acting CEO) in the absence of the CEO for a year and by the Representative of the UN Secretary-General (RSG) for the investments of the assets of the Pension Fund were appreciated by the delegates because they provided, respectively, positive information regarding the management of the Fund and investments. The result of the most recent actuarial study shows a healthy fund, despite the noticeable effect of retirees’ increasing longevity.

The issues concerning retirees’ health protection remain focused on a transfer to national regimes of the country of residence, a proposal discussed within the “Standing Committee on After Health Insurance and Long Term Care”, known as ASHI. But for the representatives of the insured in this Committee such a decision by the organs of the UN General Assembly would leave many pensioners without coverage, because many countries do not have national health insurance systems.

Delegates to the FAFICS Council also discussed the Federation’s internal rules of operation. Proposals have been submitted; but delegates called for wider consultation among all members, particularly with regard to the number of Vice-Presidents and the rules for the examination of nominations. Notably Marco Breschi, retiree from the FAO Rome, was elected President of FAFICS and Pierre Sayour, retired ILO official, was elected Secretary General (both of whom are new people). Representatives of the Bureau of the Section had the opportunity to meet with them this summer and discuss their concerns with them.

Additional information can be found on the respective websites of AAFI-AFICS Geneva and FAFICS. To access these, go to the Section’s web site
(Http://; see pages under “Activities, Relations with AAFI-AFICS and FAFICS” where links allow you to enter these two sites.

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ILO Art Circle’s 2018 exhibition

Category : Archives

Friends of the Arts and Decoration Circle of the ILO came in large numbers – about a hundred people – to participate in the opening of the exhibition held from 17H00 to 19H00 on Tuesday, 2 October 2018 in the ILO Hall of Colonnades. The location of the exhibition is remarkable due to its large windows, letting light filter in unrestricted, and in being a busy passageway giving an opportunity for the artworks to be viewed by the greatest number of people possible. It was a great event and the participants were able to wander through the Hall of Colonnades and discover the fruit of the work of the 19 exhibiting artists. The name “Arts and Decoration Circle” has really been justified this year by the variety of works presented; abstract and representative paintings and pictures, sculptures, faience painting, jewellery and floral decoration (the latter courtesy of Madeleine Hamilton, Madeleine Brandt and Gudrun Jesse).

At the beginning of his address, François Kientzler, President of the Circle, gathered the exhibiting artists around him. After welcoming the guests, he recalled that the exhibition was the result of the work done by the artists of the Circle over the past months and that the exhibition was a privileged moment to present it. Artists often work in isolation, even in secret, and such an exhibition is an opportunity for friends and family to gather and share the artists’ pleasure and pride in their work.

Then the President thanked all those who participated in the preparation of this exhibition and allowed its realization, in particular the ILO’s DCOMM Service in charge of internal and external communication, Ms. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, Alexander Belopopsky and Marcel Crozet. The INTERSEV Services, FACILITIES, SECURITIES are also key elements in the organization of the exhibition with the final authorization being given by Mr. Guy Ryder, Director General, who permits the exhibitions to take place in the ILO. The President mentioned the three people exhibiting for the first time this year, two of whom are still working in the ILO. He warmly welcomed the opening up of the Circle to younger artists, which in his view confirms the interest in the Circle’s exhibitions. Five years ago when the Circle was rejuvenated, it was far from certain that it would be a success  but every year there is another step up in the quality of the exhibited works – which was also the general opinion of the guests present. The Circle currently has about 35 members.

Next year, 2019, will be the ILO’s centenary year. The Director General would like ILO retirees to participate in this event. The Bureau of the Section of Former ILO Officials, in meetings with the representatives of the administration, expressed the interest of the ILO Arts and Decoration Circle in contributing to the Centenary at some point during 2019.

In conclusion, the President thanked all the participants for their presence, which he emphasised is a great encouragement to the Circle to continue its activities and development. He wished everyone good luck in this exhibition and invited them join him for a drink in the Espace Gobelins. It was a very convivial moment shared between friends.

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Activities report 2018

Category : Archives

The Former Officials’ Section has a 10-person executive Bureau (one post is currently vacant) which, except during the summer months, generally meets every two weeks. Its office (# 5-67) is next to those of the Staff Union on the fifth floor. Although the Section keeps in touch with its members by email, post and its twice yearly bulletin Message, as well as via its website (, there is still considerable room for improvement if it is to maintain close contact with retirees in the various regions.

Thanks to the Section’s physical proximity to the Staff Union, its Secretariat, its Executive Secretary and the other members of the Bureau are able to maintain permanent contact and engage in regular cooperation with the Union. These exchanges concern mainly matters of mutual interest, such as the SHIF and the Pension Fund. The Section supported the Staff Union’s crusade against salary cuts in Geneva and welcomed the broad mobilization of the staff during the spring of 2018.

The functioning and maintenance of the Staff Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) is a constant subject of concern and one which crops up at each of the Section’s fortnightly meetings. And there seems to be every reason to be worried, what with the risk that the processing of claims could be farmed out to an outside agency and that the social protection of retired officials could be transferred to national schemes – which in many countries do not even exist. Eager though we are to see an improvement in the Fund’s governance and management and in the social protection of retired officials in the various regions, we were also pleased to see the improvement in certain benefits on 1 July 2018 in terms of prevention and of the recognition of certain alternative medicines.

The Pension Fund, too, is going through a turbulent patch, not so much for reasons of finance or efficiency but rather because of a number of internal problems that are hardly conducive to a serene work environment. The Fund has introduced a new integrated computer system, and as a result some newly retired officials have had to wait months for their first payment; fortunately, current payments to retired officials have not been affected.


The Section has continued to work on improving its communications with retirees. Its website ( is regularly updated, not just with information that is of direct concern to retirees but also with the latest news from the ILO, such as the Staff Union’s recent crusade and strike action mentioned above. At the same time, we are busy preparing the next issue of Message, which is eagerly awaited by a large number of retirees but which involves a lot of time-consuming work. We are sincerely grateful to all those who devote their spare time to the magazine and are always on the lookout for new volunteers to help with translation and proofreading and to write articles or provide documentation.

The Former Officials’ Section always takes part in the annual pre-retirement seminar, where we can spend a few minutes with each participant so as to establish a personal contact with future retirees and encourage them to join the Section.

We are also involved with similar associations of other international organizations in Geneva, and a seminar under the heading “Comment bien vieillir – Stay younger for longer” was held on 14 May 2018 in the ILO’s Governing Body Room in cooperation with the former officials’ associations of WHO, the United Nations (AAFI-AFICS) and the ITU. The working documents for the seminar are available on our website ( Following a presentation dealing with the normal and pathological impact of ageing on mental health, interventions were heard from associations belonging to the “Plateforme des Ainés de Genève”: Pro Senectute, the Geneva Red Cross, the Geneva home-care assistance institution (IMAD) and Cité Seniors (on the Swiss side of the border) and the gerontological information and coordination centre (CLIC) in the Pays de Gex (on the French side).

The Seminar was attended by 200 participants and was the product of several months’ sustained collaboration among associations of retired officials of international organizations in Geneva. The previous seminar of its kind, on loneliness and isolation, was held in October 2014, and we believe that events such as these show how useful such associations and groups of retirees can be.

As we prepare to mark the hundredth anniversary of the ILO in 2019, which is sure to be a memorable occasion, hundreds of tributes and other events have been planned to be held in Geneva and throughout the world. No doubt they will be closely followed in the media.

The Section is cooperating with the ILO as it prepares for the centenary celebrations, and the Director-General Guy Ryder has personally expressed the hope that former officials, who were the making of the Organization, will follow the event very closely. On two occasions in the first half of this year the Section met the ILO officials who are responsible for arrangements and it has been very pleased to be of help. Though the date has not yet been fixed, a special event will be held for retired officials in the presence of the Director-General. The Section has made a number of suggestions for the occasion that have been duly adapted for inclusion in the general programme of events.

In a circular sent out on 30 January 2018 the Section invited retired officials to send in contributions reliving some of the highlights of the ILO’s history and the response has been encouraging, with over 40 contributions already. Some of the stories appeared in the June 2018 issue of Message, and others will follow. All these contributions will appear on our website (, as well as being passed on to DCOMM for use in their communications as they see fit.

The Former Officials’ Section also supports the ILO’s Arts and Decoration Circle, a member of the Sports and Leisure Association, whose some 30 plus members organized a fourth exhibition in the Colonnade at ILO headquarters from 1 to 12 October 2018.

The annual receptions for retirees that take place in May and December in Geneva at the invitation of the Director-General are an excellent occasion for former ILO officials to meet up on familiar ground, and the Director-General’s attendance is always greatly appreciated.

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Photos of May 2018 reception of former officials

Category : Archives

The photos of May 2018 reception of former officials are online! Thank you to the photograph, our colleague Jacques Rodriguez.

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Spring 2018 reception

Category : Archives

On Thursday, May 17, 2018 in the late afternoon was held the spring reception of retirees of the ILO at the invitation of Guy Ryder, Director General. Many colleagues had responded, as usual, to this invitation a few days before the start of the 2018 International Labor Conference. The Director-General honored the reception with his presence and had the opportunity to greet many former retired colleagues.

Mark Levin, Director of HRD, greeted the retirees present and gave the floor to Mr. François Kientzler, Executive Secretary of the ILO Elders Section. In his speech, he mentioned a recent ILO Seminar on “How to age well”, which brought together some 200 ILO retirees and other international organizations in Geneva. In particular, this Seminar benefited from the expertise of former WHO retired medical officers. All of the work will be published and available to everyone, including on the Alumni Section website. He then referred to the ILO’s centenary by thanking all those who had already given a testimony about a notorious event they had experienced. This information will be shared with the ILO Communication Service (DCOMM). Two working meetings have already been held at the beginning of the year with the ILO officials responsible for coordinating the Centenary events and the Section of Elders is fully integrated into the process. It will keep retirees informed of any events affecting them.

In his intervention, the Director-General recalled that the general objective of the ILO Centennial was to look to the future and, in particular, to future employment and work. He recalled that the ILO has constantly adapted to the often profound changes in the world of work and that the retirees present have been actors. It is now up to the ILO to look to the future and adapt its resources to the new demands of the profound changes in technologies that change labor relations. But without forgetting all those who are outside these transformations in developed and developing countries. On the occasion of the ILO Centenary in 2019, many events will be held in Geneva and around the world, including a meeting of a United Nations and Swiss Federal Government forum. Regarding the requirements to which the ILO itself is subject, it quoted the duration of the International Labor Conference, which is only two weeks long whereas in the past it lasted up to five weeks. He also mentioned a recent staff strike at the March Board meeting, recalling that this is part of the life and working relationships of any company, so it can happen even at the ILO. In conclusion, he thanked all present for their continued interest in the future of the ILO.

The reception was an opportunity to exchange with friends but also, for many of us, to make new acquaintances. For the members of the Bureau of the Alumni Section this was an opportunity to meet and talk with many retirees. It is also our responsibility to mention the participation of several DCOMM officials in this reception who were able to interact directly with ILO retirees in preparation for the ILO Centenary.

Photos album


The next reception will take place on Thursday 13th December 2018