Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We commend your dedication and valuable contribution to the important work we undertake to assist humanity in the face of arduous and demanding circumstances, in line with the Secretary-General’s end of year message to Staff on December 20, 2023. The current hostilities, the tragic deaths of over 130 of our esteemed colleagues in Gaza, the increasing lack of safety and unpredictability, the escalating environmental shifts, and the cessation of operations in MINUSMA, UNITAMS, UNITAD, and the downsizing of MONUSCO.
The aforementioned dynamics have had an immense and wide-ranging impact on staff, encompassing not only those directly associated with the impacted Missions but also the entire peacekeeping mission workforce. Concerns regarding the staff retention and the unforeseen consequences of downsizing other operations, which could have significant implications for future Missions. The effect that traumatic experiences have on the overall productivity of staff and so forth. However, it is impossible to overstate the significance of the procedural measures required to psychologically prepare staff members.
Since assuming executive leadership of the FSU on October 24, 2023, we have been inundated with numerous cases from affected staff in a variety of domains, including:
a) The downsizing staff that were designated for priority listing due to recruitment freezes and budgetary constraints have experienced difficulties in securing selection decisions. This contrasts with the special measures implemented in the Inspira system to prioritize affected staff and ensure adherence to the downsizing policy.
b) Adverse psychological effects may ensue from the exposure to traumatic events; these may include the emergence of mental health disorders, heightened rates of absenteeism, and possible denial of specific sick leave requests, among others. It is important to note that these consequences can have a financial ramification for both the organization and its staff members.
c) It is recognized that a comprehensive educational program is necessary to aid staff members in effectively navigating their lives after leaving the UN System and in making well-informed decisions. Such a program should provide staff with a thorough understanding of the agreed termination processes and their relevance to enable them to make informed decisions.
d) The necessity for effective communication and a more comprehensive outreach system for counseling support, not necessarily restricted to a particular mission but rather recognizing that the United Nations is a unified organization whose mission is to promote the common good. It was noted that there was a gap in this area of a deficiency in empathy, support, and responsiveness, as evidenced by the documented correspondence among staff members and the absence of suitable responses. In the future, it is possible to improve in this regard.
We are pleased to provide an update on our recent activities, which include our interaction with your various FSU Committees during our Extraordinary Council Meeting on November 1, 2023. A report is enclosed.
Furthermore, we have maintained active collaboration with other Staff Union Bodies to address cross-cutting issues, as well as with the Staff Management Committee (SMC), which includes representatives from both the Staff Side, and the Management Side. Additionally, we have representation at the Federation level in UNISERV, with 2 FSU members serving as Vice Presidents.
We also engaged with the ICSC on the classification of Duty Stations, which assesses living and working conditions, and the designation of Non-Family Duty Stations. The Annual Review took place from November 13th to 17th in New York. This review occurs every three years and follows a cycle based on geographical regions. We are pleased to inform you that, we successfully defended and maintained the existing classifications for hardship duty stations and pushed for the temporary special measure for hardship classifications of duty stations in South Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Additionally, we engaged the Senior Management on the issue of Continuing Appointment, and we are pleased to inform you that very soon, you will hear from Management on the status of the Continuing Appointments.
Finally, on the status of our Downsized colleagues in MINUSMA, we established a productive and professional working relationship with management and Heads of Entities, and because of our positive collaboration, over 200 of our colleagues in MINUSMA were placed in other missions, Please note that, this is the highest number ever of downsized staff from one Mission that have secured appointment. We intend to replicate this success for our colleagues in UNITAMS.
We eagerly anticipate Mission visits to further our collaboration and gain a deeper understanding of your specific requirements considering the on-going ICSC Comprehensive Review of UN Entitlements.
All what we have outlined above, was done in just 60 days, we intend to do more. We are here to represent you, and your opinions are important to us.
We will continue to represent you in the spirit of our FSU MOTTO: One Voice, One Staff, One UN, and Everything will be Under Control.
We thank you for your continued service to humanity, and we wish you all the best in 2024.
Jackline, Paul, Milan