Articles: News

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Return of 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.


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Interview with former Staff union presidents

Category : News

For the centenary of the ILO, the Staff Union as part of its blog has undertaken to conduct interviews with former Presidents of the Union.


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News from the return to offices at ILO headquarters – August 28, 2020

Category : News

Extrait Intranet BIT 28 août 2020

Current status of return to office 

  • The additional 310 staff cleared for this next stage will bring the total number of staff who have completed the medical and HRD clearance to return to the office to around 830 people, with a maximum of 700 (56% of the total ILO staff at HQ) permitted to be in the building at any one time. This limit has been determined after a thorough assessment of safety and health measures, and in particular the need to ensure 2 metre physical distancing in all places.
  • Staff who have not been cleared for RTO will continue to telework, and staff on rotational arrangements will rotate between telework and presence at the office.
  • UNICEF staff who will move to the ILO building will follow the same approach as the ILO.

HQ office arrival time tool 

  • In order to coordinate arrival times and use of the HQ Cafeteria, all staff will be asked to indicate their preferred arrival and break times using a dedicated online arrival time tool.
  • This tool is being introduced as an additional safety measure to optimise physical distancing arrangements during peak periods. The anonymous tool will help to limit the number of staff who arrive or have lunch at the same time.
  • To facilitate the staggered arrival to and departure from office premises , core working hours have been suspended. However, all staff are expected to work a normal weekly schedule of 8 hours per day, or 40 hours per week, regardless of their arrival time.

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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.


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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 (anciens@ilo.org), 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 (http://www.anciens-bit-ilo.org) 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 (www.anciens-bit-ilo.org). 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 anciens@ilo.org 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 (http://www.anciens-bit-ilo.org).

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 (http://www.anciens-bit-ilo.org), 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