Articles: News

Reply of the ILO HRD Director (16 June 2021) to the letter of the Bureau of the Former Officials Section

Category : Message68 , News

Dear Mr Kientzler,

I refer to your letter of 9 June 2021 and would like to start by thanking you for the role that you and the Bureau of the Former Officials Section have played and continue to play in the context of the current pandemic. Your efforts and initiatives to facilitate contacts between the Office and the community of former officials have been much appreciated, especially in this difficult context.

We look forward to welcoming you and all former colleagues to the Office as soon as possible. However, unfortunately, we are not yet at the end of the tunnel. The policy measures taken in the wake of Covid-19, including widespread access to vaccination, have significantly improved the situation, but the pandemic remains.

The ILO’s senior management continues to monitor the Covid-19 situation closely and to make decisions based on the local epidemiological situation, the recommendations of the WHO and the host country and in consultation with other UN agencies. As always, the Office gives the highest priority to the safety and health of staff and visitors, including our former colleagues.

The latest decisions by the Swiss authorities confirm the gradual reopening in the country. However, teleworking continues to be recommended, and an increased return to the office is only possible under strict, specific conditions, including weekly testing of all staff who are present, reflecting the ongoing risks associated with the pandemic.

Taking all these factors into account, the Director General has decided to maintain the existing restrictions on access to the headquarters building. In addition, mandatory teleworking will continue to apply to all ILO headquarters staff until 2 August 2021.

During the interim period, the Office will develop updated policies and plans guiding the return to the office which will be communicated to all staff. As part of these arrangements, I anticipate that it will be possible to grant access for you yourself to work in the Section’s office, as was the case during the partial return to the office in 2020. However, due to the planned occupancy limitations, which are required for security and health purposes, it is unlikely that access will be granted to other members of the Bureau, with the exception of a deputy able to visit the office in your absence. In any case, these aspects will be considered in more detail once the new back-to-the-office policies are implemented.

With regard to the other issues you have raised, I would like to provide the following clarifications.

Regarding the entry badges of former officials, I confirm that the expiry date indicated on the badge does indeed remain in force. Therefore, when – and only when – the office premises are open to external visitors, badge holders will have to go to the accreditation office to have their badges renewed. For your own badge, renewal can be arranged during one of your visits to the office, as mentioned above.

As for communications sent out by the SHIF, I would like to confirm that, as already explained by the Fund’s Executive Secretary, all relevant information has continued to be distributed in hard copy by post to all retired insured members. In this connection, I wish to take this opportunity to ask for your help in continuing to promote the use of SHIF Online within the pensioner community, as this tool can greatly improve the level of services they get from the SHIF as well as the speed of their reimbursement. I would also like to inform you that an English-language webinar dedicated to reimbursements will be organized by the SHIF on 1 July at 2pm (CEST) for all insured members (active and retired) to explain the measures taken by the Fund in the context of the pandemic. Invitations will be sent out in due course and I count on your cooperation in encouraging the pensioner community to attend this important event, where they will have the opportunity to ask the SHIF team specific questions.

Regarding the reception for retired officials, I have taken note of your request and would like to assure you that the Office will continue to organize this event as usual, as soon as the health situation returns to normal and the premises of the Office can be safely used to hold large-scale meetings and events. Based on the current situation, however, it does not seem likely we can envisage organizing such an event before the end of this year.

With regard to the pre-retirement seminar, I would like to inform you that this activity was organized for ILO staff in autumn 2020 in virtual form and with a very reduced programme. In the spring of 2021, the seminar was again organized in virtual form in cooperation with UNOG and other agencies, and we are planning to offer our staff additional sessions this autumn. We will keep you informed of the dates of these sessions.

I would also like to thank you for the assistance provided by the Bureau of the Former Officials Section on matters relating to the Pension Fund. Owing to the closure of the UNJSPF premises, the ILO Pension Unit is receiving a growing number of enquiries from retired officials and their families, which we are unable to answer. It is therefore of the utmost importance to inform the pensioner community that enquiries concerning the Pension Fund for former ILO staff members, retirees, beneficiaries, survivors and family members should be addressed to the Pension Fund’s offices in Geneva or New York and that the ILO Pension Unit is not in a position to deal with their after-service pension issues.

In conclusion, let me assure you that the Office remains committed to a strong partnership with the Bureau of the Former Officials Section. We just need to be patient and continue to follow strict security measures to overcome the challenges of the pandemic together without placing any of our colleagues or former colleagues at risk, in order to return to a normal working environment as soon as possible. During this period, my team and I remain at your disposal for any virtual discussion and exchange of information you may require.

Yours sincerely,

André Bogui, Director

Broadcast ILO 1 June 2021

Category : News

This communication provides an update on plans for the return to office of staff at headquarters.

As previously announced, the Office continues to prepare for the return of all Geneva-based staff to office as soon as conditions allow.

COVID-19 policy measures, including the widespread access to vaccination, have brought significant improvements to the situation, but the pandemic remains present. 

The ILO senior management continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation carefully and to make decisions based on the local epidemiological situation and recommendations of the WHO, the host country and in consultation with other UN agencies. As always, the Office gives highest priority to ensuring the safety and health of staff.  

The latest decisions by the Swiss authorities confirm the progressive reopening of social and economic activity in the country. However, teleworking continues to be recommended, and an increased return to office is only possible with specific strict conditions, including the weekly COVID testing of all staff present, reflecting the ongoing risks associated with the pandemic.

Taking all factors into account, the Director-General has decided that mandatory teleworking will continue to apply to all staff at ILO headquarters until 2 August 2021.

During the interim period, updated policies and plans guiding the return to office will be finalized and communicated to all staff. 

The ILO senior management will review the situation again in late June or when new information becomes available. 

Regardless of the teleworking status at headquarters, managers are requested to encourage staff to finalize plans for summer leave in a coordinated manner to ensure business continuity.

On behalf of the Director-General, I would like to thank all staff for their flexibility and understanding as we adapt together to an evolving situation and prepare for this new phase in our response to the pandemic.

Greg Vines


Tribute to International Civil Servants by the FAFICS

Category : News

In 2019, the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS), on a proposal from the Association of Former UNESCO Staff Members (AFUS), enthusiastically accepted at the 48th Session of its Council that a Tribute to past and present generations of international civil servants be prepared at the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and many other institutions of the United Nations system, including UNESCO. At the request of the AFUS, the drafting of the text was entrusted to it by FAFICS.

The preliminary document drafted by AFUS was communicated in January 2020 to the 63 Associations of the Federation whose contributions were incorporated into the Draft. On December 9, 2020, at the close of its 49th Council Virtual Session, FAFICS unanimously and by acclamation adopted the Tribute reproduced below.


Covid-19: border workers and residents will have to present a certificate at the French border

Category : News

Les travailleurs et résidents frontaliers seront tenus de présenter une attestation de domicile, mais pas de test PCR négatif à la frontière franco-suisse. Le gouvernement français a annoncé vendredi la fermeture des frontières hors-UE, sauf motif impérieux.

Voilà la situation clarifiée après un temps d’incertitude. Les autorités françaises ont annoncé dimanche 31 janvier que les travailleurs et résidents frontaliers ne seront pas concernés par les tests PCR obligatoires pour traverser la frontière franco-suisse.

Vendredi, le Premier ministre Jean Castex avait annoncé de nouvelles mesures pour lutter contre la pandémie de Covid-19, en particulier la fermeture des frontières françaises aux personnes venant de pays extérieurs à l’UE ou à l’Espace Schengen. Et d’ajouter qu’un test PCR négatif serait demandé pour toute entrée en France en provenance d’un pays de l’UE, “à l’exception des travailleurs transfrontaliers”.

Le doute planait donc sur la situation des étudiants et résidents frontaliers, nombreux à traverser la frontière chaque jour, notamment entre la Haute-Savoie et la Suisse. Mais la préfecture de la Haute-Savoie vient de préciser dans un communiqué que les transporteurs routiers, travailleurs frontaliers et “résidents des bassins de vie frontaliers dans un rayon de 30 km autour de leur domicile” sont exemptés de l’obligation de présenter un test négatif.

En cas de contrôle, ces derniers devront toutefois se munir de leur pièce d’identité, d’une attestation employeur pour les travailleurs frontaliers et d’une attestation justifiant de leur domicile, ajoutent les autorités françaises. Pour les autres voyageurs, les documents et attestations nécessaires sont à retrouver sur le site du ministère de l’Intérieur.

Cette série de restrictions, annoncées par le Premier ministre lors d’une prise de parole inattendue à l’issue d’un Conseil de défense, est qualifiée de “dernière cartouche” par une source gouvernementale interrogée par l’AFP. Jean Castex a par ailleurs annoncé un renforcement des contrôles du couvre-feu de 18 heures, des fêtes clandestines et de “l’ouverture illégale” des restaurants, afin que “les dérives de quelques-uns ne (…) ruinent pas les efforts de tous”.

Source France 3 : Auvergne Rhône-Alpes (internet du 1 février 2021)

Covid-19 : Information

Category : News

Statement of the ILO Workers’ Group on vaccine equity

Download the statement

Extension of teleworking for staff at HQ until at least 4 May 2021

The Director-General has decided to extend the current mandatory teleworking arrangements for staff at headquarters until at least 4 May 2021.

Following the decisions of the Swiss authorities to maintain COVID-19-related restrictions announced on 19 March 2021, the Director-General has decided that the current mandatory teleworking policy will remain in place for staff at ILO headquarters until at least 4 May 2021.

The arrangements and timing of the return of ILO staff to the office will be subject to the evolution of the pandemic and any further decisions by the Swiss and French authorities. Further announcements are expected to be made by the authorities in mid-April and we will update staff on return to office arrangements at that time.

As previously, those staff whose presence is required in the office for a specific purpose prior to 4 May will be informed by their manager.

Requests for exceptional access to the HQ building will continue to be considered in accordance with the current procedures.

We recognize that this extended period of teleworking and continued uncertainty are a source of anxiety for many staff. The Office continues to give the highest priority to the safety and well-being of staff, and we ask all colleagues to continue to take care of your own health and that of others around you at all times.

Covid 19: How do I get the vaccination in France? / Intranet ILO: update of 10 of March

Staff living in France
  • ILO staff, dependents or retirees living in neighbouring France with a valid Swiss carte de legitimation may register for vaccination in Switzerland. The telephone hotline (0800 909 400) should be used until international insurance cards are recognized by the online system. The hotline takes into account specific requests for appointments, but only for people who meet the criteria for priority access to vaccination.​​
  • Retirees or dependents of staff living in France without a legitimation card will not have access to Swiss vaccines and should be vaccinated through the French system. They are included in the planning of the French authorities and will benefit from the same measures as those planned for the population and in the same order of priority.
  • As of 14 January, vaccination will be available for people aged over 75 and frontline/health care worker​s, and it will be progressively available for other parts of the population. ​​Reservation is possible by phone or via the website

Further information

In Switzerland and in France, vaccination will be provided free of charge to residents and staff of international organizations in Geneva. In other cases, SHIF will reimburse the cost of the vaccine at 100%.

Covid-19: border workers and residents will have to present a certificate at the French border

Message from the ILO Director General of January 13, 2021

You can see the ILO Director-General’s speech to staff on January 13, 2021 here :

Information from the SHIF on the Covid-19 vaccine

Campagne de vaccination France/Pays de Gex

Staff in Geneva to full-time teleworking from October 19, 2020

Category : News

As of Monday, October 19, 2020 and for an initial period of four weeks, all staff in Geneva will return to full-time teleworking, with the exception of designated staff.

Covid-19 – Update from the Staff Union – 8 July 2020

Category : News

At headquarters, this week of July sees the start of phase 3 of the return to office and the building is finally coming back to life. After some discordance last week, the modalities of this phase 3 have been the subject of certain clarifications by the administration, at the request of the Staff Union. According to the latter, the key words for a successful phased return are: clarity, transparency and fairness. If, at your level, these three criteria are not being met, then take action: ask questions, ask to see the updated lists of who is supposed to return, and according to which criteria, as it seems that a communication deficit persists. And, most importantly, if you discover on the day you return to the ILO that the person with whom you are sharing an office is also present (which should not be the case as 2 or more people sharing an office is subject to a mandatory weekly rotation), then exercise your right of withdrawal.

An uncertain future for the Turin centre that requires our solidarity

You may not know it yet: the training centre in Turin is in turmoil. Its income is based mainly on training and a contribution from the Italian Government. Today the income is drying up and the Centre is looking for solutions to survive.

The Centre has therefore had to start reinventing itself by offering new products and services adapted to the situation and by looking for alternative sources of funding. A better employability of the Centre could be envisaged by the ILO itself, and we know that the administration is working on it. Nevertheless, a new business model must be accompanied by strong and reliable social dialogue to cope with the difficult situation. The staff must be involved in this new strategy.

This is why the ILO Staff Union joins the Staff Union of the Turin Centre under the banner “One ILO” to accompany and support them in all future dealings with their administration, and calls on our ILO administration to do its utmost to save the Centre and all its staff, who have gone through many hardships during this period.

UNDT decision

The decision of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) concerning the complaint of our UN colleagues on the Geneva post adjustment was made public on 30 June 2020. The complaint was dismissed (see the judgment here).

This is bad news as it now firmly puts the future of the UN common system at risk and has repercussions on the entire UN salary system worldwide. The Noblemaire and Flemming principles are in serious danger. Your Union must analyse this judgement in detail, and rapidly contact all the associations and unions and staff federations of the common system to discuss and decide on the next strategy. But it is clear that the future will not be bright, and strong struggles are to be expected.

The Staff Union also expects the administration to provide information and/or communicate its position on this matter as soon as possible.

Communication from the Bureau of the ILO former officials of June 15, 2020

Category : News

Dear fellow members of the Section of Former ILO Officials,

Several months of the coronavirus pandemic have greatly changed the lifestyle of the majority of us. If the virus is in decline in many countries it is unfortunately not yet the case everywhere and the risk of a resurgence of the disease exists despite the efforts that we are all making in respecting the instructions of our governments.

As you may be aware, ILO officials in all offices around the world are mainly teleworking from home and access to ILO offices is very limited; this is certainly the case in Geneva. The Director General’s Notice IGDS No. 567 of 28 May 2020 provides for a “gradual, progressive and staggered” return to the offices.

Executive members of the Bureau of the Section of Former Officials have not been able to physically access their ILO office since mid-March. However, we can still access emails in our email box (, access the ILO intranet and continue to update our website, which is hosted by a company outside the ILO.

You can therefore continue to contact us by email and post as necessary, the latter being transmitted to us via a colleague of the Section. You can also visit our website ( where we post information that you may find useful.

During this period, we received several admissions to the Section and have also noted that the deaths reported to us by the administration are fortunately no higher than those of the same period last year. Please continue to stay healthy!

The Bureau of Former ILO Officials expects to resume its normal activities eventually, and in the meantime remains at your service, in case of need, during this period of restriction.

The Bureau members send you their greetings and very best wishes.