The ILO’s eventful Governing Body session is now behind us. The Staff Union congratulates the elected Director-General, Mr Gilbert Houngbo, and commits to collaborating with him when he takes office. We also reiterate our solidarity with our colleagues and all persons affected by war, as we said in our Chair’s statement to the GB.
The Staff Union closes March, the Diversity Month, with a video interview (link) with our past Chair, Catherine, as this was our first month without her. We wish her all the best in her retirement and reiterate our commitment to promote diversity throughout the year, like in our continued engagement with the Office on the implementation of the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy.
Tomorrow, we will start the month of occupational safety and health (OSH). The Staff Union strives to ensure that the views and voice of the staff about OSH are considered, with the representatives everywhere actively participating in Committees on Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) and calling for their effective functioning as bodies of social dialogue. We also seek full information on OSH issues and call for the COSH minutes to be available on the intranet. We have been active in a working group set up by the COSH in HQ to review the governance of OSH at the Office with the aim to improve and fully activate the ILO’s OSH management system, as we asked last year in the public dialogue with the DG. But we need a comprehensive OSH training plan to enable those involved in and responsible for OSH across all duty stations to effectively carry out their functions.
At the same time, we are negotiating a new Flexible Working Arrangements policy with the Administration. This policy should highlight the positive impact of such arrangements for all:
- For staff: flexible working arrangements are a good practice and a means to improve performance and well-being of the staff, work-life balance, gender equality, and other aspects of our working life, including the right to disconnect;
- For the Organization: such policy can recognize new ways of working which can improve the work culture and promote a human-centred approach in line with the Centenary Declaration; and
- For society: such arrangements can contribute to greening the environment by reducing, amongst others matters, traffic congestion and pollution.
This policy should cover all ILO staff, irrespective of types of contracts (including part time) and funding sources, including colleagues that have been left aside in the past. It should be transparent, equitable, with adequate funding for its implementation and aligning to good the UN framework. It should not be a “reward” for managers to bestow or erode acquired rights.
The Staff Union dedicates all its energy to advocate for better working conditions for all. The Staff Union is all of us, and we invite you to express your concerns to the staff representatives in your unit or duty station.