Background

At the HLCM’s 29th session in March 2015, FICSA submitted a document with a proposed cost sharing formula to distribute the annual cost of the two FICSA officers (the President and General Secretary) across all organizations having staff associations/unions which are members of FICSA. HLCM requested the HR Network, as the primary interlocutor with staff, to consider the proposal by FICSA and to submit its views for discussion by the Committee at its October 2015 session.

Discussion

The Co-Chair of the HR Network acknowledged the importance of adequate representation of staff federations in the relevant inter-agency mechanisms such as HLCM and ICSC. She highlighted that, to date, any cost sharing arrangements had been ad-hoc in nature. Any systematic provision would have to be looked at more comprehensively, given the existence of three different staff federations in the UN system.

Resourcing of elected officials at the federation level was not homogeneous, with two full time positions in the FICSA case being the most resource-intense option. In times where administrations are asked to do more with less, due care would need to be given to the most efficient and collaborative representation of staff federations, including with a reflection on the most suitable secretariat structures and locations. Finally, it was highlighted that it would be worthwhile exploring alternative financing mechanisms, in particular as other positions in the FICSA Secretariat as already financed through membership-based contributions.

Considering the views of the HR Network and prior discussions at HLCM, the HLCM Vice-Chair proposed the establishment of a small working group including FICSA representatives and some organizations whose staff are represented by FICSA, with a view to discuss the matter further. UNESCO indicated its willingness to chair such a working group, and to reach out to other organizations for potential participation.

Action

The Committee:
Expressed appreciation of the value of engagement and representation of staff federations in the relevant inter-agency mechanisms.

Took note of the views expressed by the Committee with regard to exploring options for:
a.    Identifying alternative funding approaches for elected officials’ positions, including those based on membership fees;
b.    Reviewing functions and composition of FICSA secretariat, and well as the possibility of providing its services from a low cost duty station;
c.    Identifying solutions for all three Staff Federations for a more cost-efficient collaboration on coordination matters.

Agreed to establish a small working group under the leadership of UNESCO, with staff representatives and representatives of interested organizations, to develop proposals for HLCM’s consideration at its spring 2016 session.