From the archives – United Nations Field Service Officers go on Strike in UNTSO – 1980

Few people know or remember the very beginnings of the UN Field Staff Union or how it came to existence.


The UN Field Service Staff Union (FSSU) was created in the early 1980’s when UN Field Service Officers having grown increasingly frustrated by the lack of representation for their category of staff in UN Headquarters had decided to create their own union, to ensure that their voices would be heard.



One key event that transformed the Field Service Officer’s category into a more adequately rewarded category was the strike action that was planned and carried out from 5 to 10 May 1980 not long after the creation of the FSSU.


Key issues that Field Service Officers were trying to change was to be recognized fully as internationally recruited staff and to be given the same expatriate benefits that “Professional” staff were receiving who were internationally recruited. Issues such as education grant, home leave, etc. were up to then not payable to Field Service Officers.


The planned and executed strike action at the time certainly had its desired effect when FSSU representatives were invited to participate in staff/management negotiations in UN Headquarters where changes to the conditions of service for this category of staff were agreed upon.


Attached herewith are some photographs that were taken at the time, during the strike action in UNTSO Headquarters in Jerusalem and a sit-in was organized at the main entrance to the compound of UNTSO HQ.


Kind Regards,

Mark Polane

UNFSU President

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