UN Staff Salary Raise Inappropriate At Time of Global Fiscal Austerity

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US Representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella today wrote that raising salaries among United Nations staff is inappropriate at this time of global fiscal austerity.

Ambassador Torsella said he was concerned about the increase to the post adjustment index for New York that went into effect on 1 August 2011.

“As a result of this increase, the net compensation to UN staff in the professional and higher categories serving in New York has also increased, effectively raising the salaries of approximately 4,800 international staff by nearly 3%.” -Mr. Torsella

The Ambassador said the U.S. government is deeply concerned by the decision of the Secretariat of the International Civil Service Commission to increase the post adjustment index in New York and strongly objects to the increase.

He stressed that such a raise is inappropriate at this time of global fiscal crisis, when Member State governments everywhere are implementing drastic austerity measures such as layoffs, service reductions, revenue increases, and reductions in pay and benefits for civil servants.

“While we have the highest regard for the many dedicated professionals in the UN system, in these difficult times we must – at a minimum – forgo salary increases. Failure to do so could well lead to more draconian approaches to budget-balancing in the future.” -Mr. Torsella

He underscored that the United States federal civil service is currently subject to a pay freeze; while the freeze is reflected in the UN’s base salary scale, the United States believes that to a meaningful, common-sense definition of “salary freeze” means that it should apply to net remuneration as a whole.

“Further, the United States federal civil service is subject to “locality pay” analogous to the UN’s “post adjustment” for international professional staff. In a letter to Congress dated 30 November 2010, President Obama, exercising his authority under Section 5304a of Title 5 of the United States Code, indicated that “the current locality pay percentages…shall not increase from their 2010 levels”.” -Mr. Torsella

Ambassador Torsella pointed out that the United States government believes that no increases in either the base salary scale or post adjustment are warranted or appropriate at this time, and respectfully requests that the Commission take appropriate steps to restore the post adjustment index for New York.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.