Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization reverses ILO staff pay cut

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Jean Milligan

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The Employers’ Group approach has been backed up by today’s decision from the ILO’s Administrative Tribunal to restore Geneva-based professional staff salaries to pre-April 2018 levels.

The ground-breaking ruling by the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILO) mandates that the ILO reinstate professional staff salaries and pay them the salary lost since April 2018 together with 5 per cent interest.

ILO staff made the official complaint following the decision by the Governing Body in March 2018 to implement proposals from the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) in 2015. The ICSC recommended reducing salaries for Geneva-based United Nations staff following their internal assessment that the cost of living in the city had decreased.

In its decision, the Tribunal confirms the weakness of the ICSC’s methodology and conclusions, particularly linked to the change of salary cuts from 5 to 3 per cent. The Employers’ Group found that the methodology lacked rigour, transparency and relevant documentation.

 “Throughout this entire process, the Employers’ Group questioned the rationale for the salary cuts and the arbitrary methodology used to reach a determination of a 5 per cent pay cut, later reduced to 3 per cent. The Administrative Tribunal decision confirms that, despite the considerable pressure put on the Employers’ Group to change our position, our approach was the right one”, said Mthunzi Mdwaba, IOE Vice-President to the ILO and the ILO Employers’ Group Spokesperson.

In a speech at the ILO Governing Body in 2018, Mthunzi Mdwaba, declared that, “as responsible employers we firmly believe that proper, fair treatment of our staff is of the utmost importance. And most critically, we cannot claim to be the UN agency mandated to address the world of work when we ourselves let our employees down with ill-conceived decisions.”