This week, a journalist noted in a question to the UN spokesperson, “the Staff Union is basically handing out leaflets at the entrances to all the United Nations staff, basically asking for a freeze on the Secretary-Generalâ€™s mobility package. In talking to some of the representatives, the concerns are that, basically, the Secretary-General is pushing through a mobility package that, first of all, changes the terms and conditions and understanding upon which a lot of the staff joined this Organization, and that it didnâ€™t address fundamental issues of family, visa issues, security tenure and all the rest of it”.
The spokesperson responded by saying “Well, for the time being, as you know, the Staff Union is asking for a meeting with staff on the issue and to discuss the issue. As far as I know, the mobility package has been extensively discussed with them. I realize they are not fully satisfied with the answers they got, and I think this issue is being discussed”.
Then, on Thursday, a journalist noted that the day before “the Staff Council passed a resolution calling on Mr. Ban to immediately suspend his plan for mandatory mobility of staff … It was a pretty overwhelming vote”.
The spokesperson noted that “As you know, mobility was decided by the General Assembly in 2002. And it will be implemented gradually and comprehensively. I understand that there is a town hall meeting [Friday] with the staff, specifically on the issue of mobility. So Iâ€™m sure that this issue is not over now. It is continuing. And the Secretary-Generalâ€™s view, he has expressed it, is that management mobility is a necessity for a strong and efficient UN. The programme, as far as I know, is starting next month, with about a little more than 130 staff members: 60 at the P-3 level and some 90 staff at the G-7 level. These staff have been in their posts for a minimum of five years. So, thatâ€™s what I understand is happening. But I will be happy to get more for you from someone in management, after of course, they have met the staff here. But you have had some very mixed reactions about this. Thereâ€™s the staff in New York and Geneva expressing reservations. And you have staff from other duty stations, the most difficult ones, actually welcoming the mobility measures. So you have different points of view.”
Then, a journalist asked a follow-up question: “One thing that was said in the meeting yesterday was that, why did the mobility start at the relatively lower levels and not at the top?”.
While mobility sounds like a good idea, in the UN it becomes a catastrophe.
The UN Administration is so bad that it cannot manage to send a staff member on a mission without causing problems that have negative financial repurcussions. Now, it’s supposed to churn the staff, moving the people from the city to the countryside and from the countryside to the city, in a grotesque immitation of the most catastrophic communist excesses, such as the Khmer Rouge declaration of Year Zero.
UN Staff Members are being blamed for “occupying” their posts for more than five years, and told they must move, in order to bring in “fresh blood” and acquire new skills themselves.
But, the way this mobility exercise is being managed, staff who have “encumbered” their posts for more than five years are being evicted, and new people are being brought in. In the meantime, the evicted staff are told they must apply for new posts. This is causing monstrous problems — and offers a wonderful opportunity for hidden harassment.Â Â It takes more than a miracle — it takes connections — to get another job within the UN.
So, if these staff members want to get another post, even a UN peacekeeping assignment, much less a promotion, they almost surely will not succeed.Â So, then what happens?Â No help is being offered for a managed reassignment, and the staff members are effectively abandoned to their fate.
Does anyone care?