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1 March 2018 - First global day of staff action - Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Administrative Committee on Post Adjustment Questions (ACPAQ) is meeting this week (26 February - 5 March 2018) in New York to discuss the International Civil Service Commission's (ICSC) methodology used to establish the post adjustment index in UN duty stations.

This is following the campaign launched by staff last year after it was discovered and reported by senior statisticians and staff representatives that there were irregularities in the ICSC's post adjustment methodology and its application to the 2016 Geneva cost-of-living survey. The senior statisticians who made these discoveries had been requested by the HR Network to conduct a close and thorough examination of the methodology and its application when the results of some surveys, as announced by ACPAQ and the ICSC, looked doubtful.

Thanks to the strength of this campaign and the technical importance of the issues raised by the HR Network's senior statisticians, the ICSC secretariat and ACPAQ have had to begin to revisit the methodology with specific attention to the discovered irregularities. The ICSC secretariat had verbally committed, at the ICSC's July 2017 session, to establish a tripartite working group to look into these issues, a commitment which it did not keep. Instead, the ICSC Chair and secretariat recruited an ICSC consultant to review the matter.

That consultant's report, as well as certain elements of the methodology, is being discussed during this week's session of ACPAQ.

While all of this was going on, staff of numerous other duty stations also began reporting survey-related problems, whether it be cost-of-living surveys for establishing the post adjustment index or salary surveys for the purpose of establishing the salaries of the General Service and locally recruited staff (Bangkok, New York, Tokyo and New Delhi). Reports are also coming in regarding a lack of adequate protection against inflation and currency devaluation for local and international staff in the field and that there are volatile levels of post adjustment in field duty stations.

In summary, large numbers of staff are now saying that "Enough is enough" and that they no longer have confidence in the ICSC and its secretariat. In response to the calls from staff around the world, a first global day of staff action is being organized for Tuesday, 27 February 2018. In Geneva, a march and gathering are organized. It is envisaged that staff of all Geneva-based organizations/agencies will gather at the Palais (UNOG) at 1:15 p.m. There will be an assembly of staff (meeting room to be announced) where representatives of staff federations will speak, accompanied by chants and the holding up of signs. It is anticipated that a resolution will be adopted during the staff gathering.

Other duty stations have informed that they will also be organizing allied events on 27 February. For those duty stations which have not yet informed their respective staff federation of planned events, please do so urgently. Your actions could be simply transmitting messages of support to FICSA or, better yet, organizing a staff gathering in your duty station on the same date. Signs and chants have already been prepared for Geneva and could be shared with other duty stations upon request.

Staff have made it clear. The time has come to say STOP to the ICSC. We must take all actions possible to get the ICSC back in line with its technical mandate and core UN principles of accountability and transparency. The common system organizations and staff expect and deserve as much.

Please let us know what you are planning in your duty station and whether you need anything from FICSA in this respect.