Articles: News

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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.

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Coronavirus crisis : Message from the Executive Secretary

Category : News

Dear retired colleagues.

Above all, I wish you good health in this difficult time that we are all going through.

As you may know, ILO staff in Geneva are now teleworking from home. Although access to the ILO building in Geneva is no longer possible for us retirees, members of the Bureau of the Section of Former ILO Officials continue to communicate via the Internet and telephone networks.

I would advise you to regularly consult the SHIF and the Pension Fund websites, which provide regular updated information. You can enter both sites via ours ( The SHIF notes (attached) indicate in particular that retirees can continue to send their reimbursement requests by post.

The Union’s Centennial meeting on May 14 in the afternoon will probably be postponed to the fourth quarter of this year, and the reception offered by the Director General scheduled for the same evening has been cancelled.

If necessary you can email us at as we regularly check the messages received.

Dear colleagues, it is important at this difficult time that we all stand together in solidarity and observe the recommendations of our Public Authorities.

Yours sincerely,

François Kientzler
Executive Secretary
Section of Former ILO Officials​


SHIF documents :

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Death of Mr. Venkataraman Narasimhan / Message from the SG

Category : News

Dear Kamala and dear family and friends of Nari,

I would like to say a few words to you as Executive Secretary of the Section of Former Officials of the International Labour Office.

First of all, on behalf of ILO retirees, but also on behalf of the ILO Staff Union Committee, our condolences to Nari’s wife and family.

Dear Nari, you left us very quickly although we had seen your health decline. But despite your fatigue you remained resolutely faithful to your commitments to the end.

Indeed, your engagement with the Section of Former  ILO Officials lasted 23 years; you reminded me of this again when I last visited you on Friday December 13th at the hospital.

Nari began his career at the ILO in 1969 in the Purchasing and Supply Department; he remained in this unit until his retirement in 1996.

You have certainly loyal activist in your commitments; you have been treasurer of our Section during all these years. Previously you were also the treasurer of the Union Committee for many years, having been a member of the union since 1969. You regularly renewed your candidacy for the Bureau of the Section of Former ILO Officials and you were re-elected just a few days ago for the period 2020-2021.

ILO retirees will very much regret your absence because you have embodied the continuity and loyalty of militant commitment and we must all follow your example. I also know that your commitments have been many.

I would especially like to thank Nari’s wife who accompanied him during all these years. She came with him regularly when he was travelling for meetings and I often had the opportunity to share lunch with them.

Dear friends, we have just lost a good colleague and friend. But his memory will remain strongly imprinted in our hearts.

I will finish with the words that a colleague here present sent to me when I announced the death of Nari. The most precious thing you can give to your family, friends and colleagues is “your time”. Nari  gave his time freely to his colleagues and to the associations to which he belonged.

Thank you Nari for everything you have done for us.

François Kientzler
Secretary-General of the ILO Former Officials Section

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The Centenary Exhibition of the ILO Art and Decoration Circle (May 27 – 21 June 2019)

Category : News

The 2019 ILO Centenary year, despite its many events and exhibitions, still allowed the members of the ILO Art and Decoration Circle to express themselves. The exhibition was not held as usual in the Colonnades but near the conference rooms on R3 South. The opening of the exhibition formed part of the event to celebrate the ILO Centenary organized by the Section of Former ILO Officials on 28 May 2019. This special event was held in the Governing Body Room and was followed by a reception at the Espace Gobelins. The exhibits were much appreciated by the more than 400 retirees who attended.

All the works on display dealt with the theme of the ILO Centenary. While some were more symbolic representations of the presence and action of the ILO throughout the world, others expressed very real situations of the world of work and its constraints: 100 stones laid = 100 years of the ILO; human rights, justice and equality; the universe supported by the work of man; women at work in the fields, at the market, traditional work and trades; the arduousness of the work; etc.

The exhibition was held over the 4 weeks from May 27 to June 21, 2019. Initially planned for 2 weeks, it was extended for the period of the International Labour Conference and was able to be seen by delegates from all parts of the world. We thank all the artists who contributed to this special ILO Centenary exhibition; the works proposed could be included in an upcoming exhibition of the Circle.

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Activities Report 2019

Category : News

The Section of Former ILO Officials is open to all retired ILO staff, regardless of whether they worked at the Geneva Headquarters or in one of the field offices. Its executive body, the Bureau, comprises 10 members and generally meets every two weeks (except in summer). The Section has an office (6-06) close to the Union offices on the 6th floor and communicates with its members by e-mail, letters, through its biannual bulletin Message and through its website (

This year, 2019, was marked by the ILO Centenary Celebrations, in which retirees participated with the kind agreement of Mr. Guy Ryder, Director General. Contacts and meetings with representatives of the administration, including Protocol, DCOMM, Archives, REPRO, DISTRIBUTION and INSERV, have strengthened the links between the Section and the ILO administration and staff. Successful working meetings brought very positive results for our association’s participation in the Centenary Celebrations. The Section’s call to its members resulted in the collection of around 100 contributions, which have for the most part already been posted on the Section’s website as well as published in Message, particularly Nos. 62, 63 and 64. More will be available in the following issues.

After participating in the launch of the Centenary in January 2019, retirees were able to attend various themed conferences organized by the various ILO departments during this year. Two major events were also celebrated by retirees themselves. On 28 May 2019, at the initiative and invitation of the Section, more than 400 retirees gathered in the Governing Body room to discuss videos and testimonies regarding key moments in history in which the ILO was actively involved: in particular the defense of the Solidarity Union in Poland and the end of apartheid in South Africa. The Director-General honoured this event by opening the meeting and participating throughout. After the Meeting, participants then moved to the Espace Gobelins for a cocktail offered by the Section. Then, on 11 July 2019, about 300 retirees and their spouses met at the invitation of the Director-General, for a Centenary lunch; the key moment of which was the sharing of the birthday cake.

Both events were highly appreciated by the participants. Additional information, including videos and photos of these events are available on our website (see address above) under the heading “Centenary”. The exhibition by the ILO Arts and Decoration Circle on the theme of the ILO Centenary, as well as an exhibition of stamps evoking 100 years of ILO action, accompanied these events. The Section of Former Officials will also be present in the organization of the centennial celebrations of the ILO Staff Union in 2020.

The office of the Section is adjacent to those of the Union. This physical proximity with the Union facilitates permanent contacts and regular cooperation with the Union secretariat, the President and the Secretary General as well as with the other members of the Committee. The exchanges concern in particular issues of common interest such as the Staff Health Insurance and Pension Funds. We supported the Union’s action against the reduction in the salaries of professionals in Geneva and we were delighted by the magnificent staff mobilization that took place in the spring of 2018. We learned at the beginning of this summer that the action taken at the ILO Administrative Tribunal, initiated, encouraged and supported by the Union, was successful.

One of the constant concerns of the Section of Former Officials is the operation and maintenance of our Staff Health Insurance Fund (SHIF). We have intervened repeatedly on personal cases with the SHIF; and we are delighted that the Fund’s revised Statutes and Regulations have now been printed and distributed to pensioners, who, fin many cases, do not use the internet. The previous publication dates back more than ten years so this new edition was essential given the changes made in recent years to the Statutes and Regulations, notably concerning certain preventive and alternative medical procedures.

Representatives of the Bureau of the Section of Former Officials participate in the Board of AAFI-AFICS Geneva. Various associations of retirees of International Organizations are members of this Board. The Board discusses information on pension and health protection issues that is regularly submitted to the United Nations, in particular the functioning of the Pension Fund and the future of the health funds regarding ASHI (After Service Health Insurance). According to the latest information available to us, a reorganization will be undertaken at the offices of the Pension Fund in Geneva and their move to the WMO premises, near the rue de Lausanne, is scheduled for the end of the year.

The Section continues its work of maintaining contact and communicating with retirees. We regularly update the Section’s website (, not only with information that concerns retirees directly, but also with news from the ILO such as the Union’s actions mentioned above. We invest a lot of time to keep the site alive and up to date but neither do we neglect the publication of Message, which is valued and expected by many retirees, and which also requires much work and effort. Thank you to all those who contribute to it; as we always call on volunteers to help with translations and proofreading or to submit articles.

The Section participates in the annual Pre-retirement Seminar and we take the opportunity on this occasion to welcome participants individually and exchange a few words with them. This contact is very important to encourage future retirees to join the Section of Former Officials. Indeed, although the ILO offers facilities to the Section, if we are to continue our activities and provide help to retirees, we also need financial resources. Many new retirees are reluctant to join us and say that Message and the Section’s website are available to them free of charge. Although the members of the Bureau are all working on your behalf on a voluntary basis, we need to finance a secretary and a web master in order to maintain our activities. We invite all future retirees to become members of the Section. As is the case every year, representatives of the Section will be present and participate in the Pre-Retirement Seminar in November 2019.

The Section of Former Officials supports the ILO Arts and Decoration Circle (a member of the Sports and Leisure Association), which organizes an annual exhibition at the ILO. Finally, the invitation of retirees by the Director General to the annual receptions in May and December in Geneva are an important and special opportunity to meet with former ILO staff. The participation of the Director-General in these receptions is always much appreciated.

François Kientzler
Secrétaire exécutif

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Access to the parking for visitors

Category : News

Dear colleagues,

We wish to inform you that as from 11 November 2019, access to the P1 car park will be completely closed for works until the end of February 2020. As a result, no parking (vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles included) will be possible and the access doors to the North and South P1 will be closed.

During the works period, the following measures will be applied:

– Parking P2 will be used as a replacement for parking P1 and will welcome visitors.
– Bicycle and motorcycle spaces will also be available at P2.
– The places allocated to P1 by name will be transferred to P2 and panels will be set up to identify them (the P2 barrier is opened by reading the personal badges at the access point).
– Access to the building for pedestrians will be from car parks P2 and P3. Outside the Office’s opening hours, access will be via the SAS of parking P2.
– The taxi drop-off/collection point will be located in the “banana” waiting area on the right, before the entrance to the delivery dock.

As a result, staff are requested to park at car parks P3 and P4. It will be possible to use the P5 car park for oversized vehicles or vehicles with a right-hand driving position.

For your safety, please follow the signs and instructions of the security guards.

It is therefore reminded that all vehicles, including motorcycles, scooters and bicycles, must be removed from the P1 car park by Friday, November 8, 2019 at the latest.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

We thank you for your understanding and look forward to your cooperation.


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Visit to ILO Geneva by retired trade union members from the French department of Ain (13 June 2019)

Category : News

Wearing two hats as both Executive Secretary of the ILO Former Officials Section and Council member of the local retirees’ branch of the CFDT trade union confederation, I made the suggestion that the branch’s annual outing should take in a visit to the ILO on the occasion of the Organization’s Centenary in 2019. This duly went ahead, with 50 retirees and activists from the department of Ain, mainly the Bourg-en-Bresse region, being welcomed to the Office on Thursday 13 June by Remo Becci, Chief of Records and Archives. After a brief presentation on the Organization’s creation in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles that followed the war, Mr Becci recalled the great moments of the ILO, the only tripartite international organization, before offering a passionate exposition of its missions and activities. For 100 years, the ILO has been active throughout the world in a variety of sectors, and numerous Conventions have been adopted with no little difficulty in terms of design and implementation. Here he particularly cited the Conventions related to working conditions, equality between men and women, and abolition of both forced labour and child labour.

Three ILO retirees, all members of the Former Officials Section, voiced their strong commitment to achieving greater equality and justice in the world of work. First came Dan Cunniah, former Director of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities, and Abdoulaye Diallo, former staff member of the same unit, who is still active in the African Workers’ Group. Carmen Sottas, formerly with the Standards Department, expressed her commitment to setting standards in the world of work and the abolition of forced labour in particular. Then the Chair of the ILO Staff Union Committee, Catherine Comte-Tiberghien, spoke of the difficulties and constraints facing staff working at the ILO, particularly with regard to work-family balance and assignment to other continents.

The visit coincided with the Centenary Session of the International Labour Conference, which enabled participants to meet delegates from all continents. The Conference adopted a new ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, setting out basic principles governing the missions and activities of the Organization, as well as a more specific Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work, which will now have to be incorporated into national legislation in order to become effective.

After a brief stop at the Place des Nations and a photo in front of the Broken Chair symbolizing the victims of landmines, the visitors breathed in the fresh air of Lake Léman before calling at Ferney to visit Voltaire’s chateau, where the philosopher and writer lived from 1759 to 1778. In the opinion of one of the retirees participating, the group had had an “exceptional” day.

François Kientzler

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ILO Centenary Cup

Category : News

On the initiative of the Association of Former International Civil Servants for Development (Greycells) and in cooperation with the Help Us to Help foundation and their respective presidents Alejandro Bonilla and Fabio Ramirez, a golf competition was organized on 15 September 2019 at the Evian Resort Golf Club to celebrate the ILO Centenary for the benefit of miners in the informal economy in Colombia. The competition brought together 25 participants, including active and retired ILO staff as well as members of the Evian Resort Golf Club, the International Golf Club of Geneva and Rotary Club Genève International among others.

This sporting and festive occasion linked with two others, the Summit for Social Justice in Mont Blanc, and the ILO’s 100 km New York bike event for “a just transition to a greener economy”. The ILO Centenary Cup reminded us of the importance of setting long- and short-term goals and doing everything possible to achieve them in the most effective way and in accordance with established standards. Each of the first 17 holes represented one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, while the 18th stood for a personal goal that each of us should define and achieve, both at the personal level and that of our loved ones.

The ILO and the Former Officials Section both supported the initiative, which provided another channel for discussing and publicizing the ILO Centenary. The competition was over 18 holes, taking about five hours; one participant said she had walked 15km on very uneven terrain.

Beneath the banners of the ILO and the Centenary, Alejandro Bonilla presented each participant with a commemorative diploma together with a medal and a pin, all marked with the Centenary logo. Fabio Ramirez spoke about the foundation’s work with Colombian female emerald miners, the beneficiaries of the event. To conclude the ceremony, after a few words on the ILO Centenary, François Kientzler, Executive Secretary of the Former Officials Section, presented the trophies to the winners in both men’s and women’s categories. Then, in a very relaxed atmosphere, glasses were raised to friendship on the golf course; participants on this sunny day were able to enjoy the beautiful green setting with superb views of Lake Geneva. All agreed to repeat the initiative next year.

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General Assembly of the ILO Staff Union Second session, 17 October 2019

Category : News

The GA agenda included the 2019 Annual Report of the Union Committee. This note does not report on this meeting but highlights some points of particular interest to our retired colleagues.

Catherine Comte, President of the Union mentioned at the beginning of the meeting three current issues.

United Nations reform: The ILO Governing Body reaffirmed the principle of tripartism; however, this principle must not be forgotten when setting up field structures under the reform that favours regional clusters and coordinating focal points.

Internal social dialogue: ILO action plans should be the subject of information, consultation or negotiation with staff representatives. The Administration issued broadcasts on working conditions this summer without involving the Joint Negotiating Committee. Complaints have been filed concerning the lack of consultation.

The decision of the ILO Administrative Tribunal: The ICSC does not recognize the Tribunal’s decision concerning the appeal of hundreds of employees against the reduction of the post adjustment in Geneva for category P and D employees. There are two Tribunals in the Common System, and the second has not yet announced its decision. The existence of the ILO Tribunal and the internal appeal procedures are under threat.

Retirees access to ILO offices in the regions. Regional delegates from the Union Committee spoke at the GA to outline their concerns. Among these were the questions of reimbursement of medical expenses, which can now be made via internet. This is progress for regional officials, but the question for pensioners remains. In this connection, François Kientzler, Executive Secretary of the Section of Former ILO Officials, spoke about the difficulties that retirees have in accessing ILO field office and the need to improve this. Retirees sometimes need help in submitting claims to the SHIF, and in the near future, some will no doubt want to make their claims online. Several regional delegates reported current practices for retirees and in some cases issues concerning office access. In the context of the United Nations reform, particularly where field services and activities are being consolidated, the issue of access to offices will have to be taken into account.

To conclude his intervention, the Executive Secretary of the Section of Former ILO Officials mentioned the commitment of retirees and their participation in the ILO’s Centenary Events during 2019. The Section will also be available to contribute to the events linked to the Centenary of the ILO Staff Union in 2020. Finally, he hoped that future retirees, particularly union members, would join without hesitation the Section of Former ILO Officials, which needs strengthening and renewing.

20 October 2019
François Kientzler