UN - report of the ND on the outcome of the negotiations with the UN CEB
The Negotiating Delegation is in the process of reviewing the text of the preliminary draft Agreement. The full text of the new draft Agreement will be published on the Extranet as soon as it becomes
Subject to smooth completion of the discussions on the remaining issues, the new Agreement’s tentative entry-into-force date is 1 July 2012.
The following points are intended to provide an overview of the most important changes to the current Agreement:
1. The weekly workload for interpreters remains unchanged (a maximum of 8 meetings during a 7-day working week), as does the workload for shorter contracts (5 meetings in 3 days and 7 meetings in 4 days).
N.B. New: A reference table spelling out the maximum number of assignments per days of contract is now annexed to the Agreement.
2. The daily workload also remains unchanged (maximum of two assignments of no more than 3 hours each).
3. New: There is one minor change in team strength: for meetings of no more than one hour and a half, two interpreters servicing a bilingual meeting from one booth will be paid 100% (instead of the 160% restricted-team rate).
4. New: A section on firm offers/options indicating the rights and obligations both of organisations and of interpreters:
Whenever possible, Organisations will endeavour to make firm offers, without resorting to options; interpreters undertake not to withdraw from a contractual obligation unless a suitable alternative has been agreed upon.
The number of options given should equal the number of contracts to be issued; interpreters should not accept more than one option for the same period. The interpreter can request confirmation of an option at any time and expect a reaction within 24 hours; if the recruiting Organisation does not reply within 24 hours, the interpreter is automatically released from the option.
5. Cancellation deadlines and the concomitant compensation amounts for daily contracts remain unchanged. However, for monthly contracts, the cancellation deadlines are halved and their concomitant compensation amounts reduced, compared to the current Agreement.
6. New: If a meeting is cancelled because of force majeure, interpreters will be paid 50% of the remuneration due (N.B. in civil law, there is usually no compensation at all). The precise grounds for declaring a case of force majeure are subject to mutual agreement between the Organisation and AIIC.
7. The prohibition on the use of two-way booths for any official language other than Arabic and Chinese, as well as non-official languages (e.g. German, where relevant, Italian and Portuguese), has been made more explicit.
8. New: A session straddling two working days across midnight will count as one session towards the first day.
9. New: A night-time rest provision of a minimum of 12 hours for all assignments after 20.00 (this is especially important in connection with the straddling late-night sessions described in paragraph 8 above).
N.B. The 9% social security (pension) element is now mentioned more prominently and is taken into account in the method for calculating the rates. Payment of this pension contribution into a Caisse remains voluntary.
10. Montreal and Madrid have become HQ stations with their own rates. The North America rate has thus become the US rate alone.
11. The “Destination principle” for rates – together with its corollary, the so-called “Elsewhere” rate - was rejected and a single World rate remains.
12. New: Calculation model for all HQ rates:
a base rate (the UN annual salary scale for P-4/Step VI, divided by 221) + the 9% social security element + the relevant post adjustment.
The following indicative rates have been computed, using this new calculation model, for 1 January 2012 (in alphabetical order). These rates, rounded down to the nearest whole number, are tentative and thus remain to be confirmed; in any event, it will be the rates valid as of 1 July 2012 that will apply if the new Agreement enters into force on that date. The current rate (as of 1 January 2012) under the 2007-2011 Agreement follows in brackets for comparison.
|Austria||EUR 451||(EUR 439)|
|Canada||CAD 615||(North America rate)|
|France||EUR 461||(EUR 426.50)|
|Italy||EUR 450||(EUR 426)|
|Spain||EUR 430||(World rate)|
|Switzerland||CHF 706||(CHF 685)|
|United Kingdom||GBP 412||(GBP 285.70)|
|United States||USD 626||(USD 515 – North America rate)|
|World||USD 612||(USD 558)|
Non-regression for all rates applies to the initial calculation and to subsequent periodic adjustments.
N.B. The P-4, Step VI salary scale is almost one and half steps higher than the mid-point proposed by the Organisations in their initial Proposal.
13. New: Periodic adjustment for all HQ rates: on January 1 each year, a new base rate is calculated, derived from the new annual salary scale and the average post-adjustment multipliers of the previous year. On July 1 of each year, these rates are adjusted according to the quarterly average post-adjustment multipliers (with guaranteed non-regression).
14. New: Calculation model for the World rate: the base rate (cf. paragraph 10 for HQ rates) plus 9% social security plus the average of 13 post-adjustment multipliers, namely the 8 HQ duty stations, Kenya (UNON HQ), and Ethiopia, Chile, Lebanon and Thailand (the HQ countries of the UN’s four regional economic commissions for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, West Asia, and Asia and the Pacific). This yields an increase of around 9.5% compared to the World rate under the current Agreement.
15. New: Periodic adjustment of the World rate: the World rate is adjusted on January 1 of each year and is derived from the new base rate (cf. HQ rates adjustment), the 9% social security element and the annual averages of the 13 HQ post-adjustment multipliers for the previous year (with guaranteed non-regression).
All HQ rates are set in US dollars and converted into local currencies, using the UN Operational Rate of Exchange (UNORE); the World rate remains in US dollars.
N.B. The new adjustment mechanisms for HQ and World rates work in colleagues’ favour because of the way that the post-adjustment system functions: on January 1 of each year, a percentage of the post-adjustment multipliers is incorporated into the annual base salary (known as “consolidation”); post-adjustment multipliers are therefore reduced on January 1 but the figures used to determine the new Agreement rates are the average values of the previous year, which are slightly higher. This will lead to a continuous, albeit more gradual, increase in rates and one that is closer to actual cost-of-living increases than the current system, which provides for rate adjustments only when the relevant cost-of-living (COL) indices increase by 3% and does not preclude a reduction in rates when the cost of living decreases.
Remuneration on the sixth and seventh day of the working week
This was a highly contentious issue that became a potential deal-breaker. The problem stems from the constraints of the UN’s model for calculating remuneration: daily remuneration is calculated by dividing an annual salary by 221. This “divider” is based on the following formula: 365 minus 30 (statutory annual leave) minus 10 (all official UN holidays) minus 104 (all weekends).
The following solution was accepted by the ND, with great reluctance, in order to avoid a breakdown in the negotiations.
16. Weekends for all work away from professional domicile continue to be paid as at present, as interpreters are considered to be on-call at all times during such missions.
17. Weekend days at professional domicile: For meetings lasting for more than one week, Organisations must indicate to interpreters, when they offer them a contract, whether their services will be required on the sixth and/or seventh day(s) of the working week(s) in question and must remunerate them accordingly, irrespective of whether those interpreters are actually assigned.
If an Organisation recruits interpreters for two consecutive weeks of meetings, with the first one ending on a Friday and the second one starting on the following Monday, interpreters will not normally be paid for the two weekend days.
18. Payment of so-called “unworked” days outside weekends continues unchanged (e.g. holidays, days when not assigned, days when meetings are cancelled for reasons of extreme weather, etc.).
N.B. A precise account of events in this connection is appended to this report as a Supplement.
In general, Organisations’ travel rules for short-term staff apply.
19. New: Full travel days (including the first day of travel) will be remunerated at 100% (in the current Agreement, it is at 50%); remuneration is unchanged for short-haul travel.
20. Rest periods for travel time up to 10 hours remain unchanged.
21. New: 48-hour rest periods for travel time above 10 hours are discontinued (since they are incompatible with UN and other Organisations’ travel rules for short term and permanent staff).
22. New: Failure by the interpreter to comply with the requirement to secure travel authorisation will lead to withdrawal of the work offer, but Organisations must inform interpreters of all requirements at the time a firm offer of work is made. The UN CEB pledged to replace the requirement for a separate 3- or 6-monthly medical certificate for each Organisation with a single annual certificate, valid for all Organisations.
23. New: Travel arrangements have to be communicated to the interpreter in writing (e.g. by e-mail) at the time when a firm offer of work is made (enabling him/her to reject the offer if the arrangements are unacceptable).
N.B. Earlier proposals to restrict the entitlement to travel in business class to flights of at least 13 hours has been withdrawn for staff and freelance interpreters alike.
24. freelance recruitment is now free of all forms of discrimination (subject to the Staff Rules of the Organisation concerned) and not just confined to grounds of race, religion and gender.
25. Protection of Negotiating Delegation and Professional Delegation members from being penalised for exercising their representative functions has been upgraded to a fully-fledged provision in the Agreement.
AIIC’s proposed Annex on Webcast Meetings and its proposal to include the System of Compensation for Excess Workload in a further Annex could not be discussed during the negotiations owing to a shortage of time. A joint Working Party, to be convened at the earliest convenience of both parties, will deal with these issues. The conclusions reached will subsequently be submitted for consideration to all the parties to the negotiations.
Supplement to the Negotiating Delegation Report on statements made in connection with the question of weekend remuneration
Eliane MASRY (verbatim text of her reservation lodged at the close of the negotiations):
“I am making this statement with all due respect to all my ND colleagues. They have all been excellent, exerting tireless efforts before, during and after the negotiations. I respect my colleagues and appreciate the work they have done, in particular our spokesperson Malick.
Today, when we came after the last recess in order to consult within the ND on the weekend payment, Malick said, and I quote: “Dans le souci de parvenir à un accord, nous pouvons accepter cette dernière proposition”.
I am entrusted with the livelihoods of colleagues who elected me on this ND. I cannot accept the paragraph submitted to us by the Organisations on the weekend payment for the following reasons:
- I cannot accept that any discrimination in payment be made between locals and non-locals;
- This is a blow to one of AIIC’s pillars, we are making a rule out of it, in writing and in a binding agreement;
- I consider it, and excuse my frankness here but people who know me know how frank I am, this is a “dishonest act” towards colleagues who have been loyal to Organisations, establishing themselves on markets in spite of the insecurity of available work, sustaining with difficulty their livelihoods in order to service meetings as locals while Organisations can make savings.
AIIC is a democratic association, let the members decide if they accept such discrimination.”
Nyssa Fiona GREGORY (having requested the floor mid-way through Eliane Masry’s statement*):
“My statement will be much shorter: I associate myself with this statement”.
(* see Explanatory Note below)
Malick SY (in response to the queries of two members of the UN CEB Delegation regarding the implications of these two statements - this text is a translation from the original French; as this was not a written statement, minor inaccuracies are not to be excluded):
“I regret to say that the other members of our delegation and I had no prior knowledge of these statements. Therefore I deeply regret that two of our members chose to break ranks with the delegation. When a negotiating delegation is elected, its members no longer represent the local sector who may have nominated them, but the entire UN sector. The UN World Sectoral Meeting would have been the right forum for their statements. As far as I am concerned, and in my capacity as spokessman of our delegation, these statements are null and void and do not commit our delegation. I wish to assure you that we will defend the Agreement we have negotiated.”
* Explanatory Note
Nyssa Fiona GREGORY states that she had proposed two separate votes during the recess referred to above: the first on the weekend remuneration provisions tabled by the Organisations (she would have voted against, on the grounds that the text was both objectionable and unintelligible) and a second, if a majority had voted against these provisions, on whether such a negative vote should block the passage of the Agreement or simply be recorded as a reservation (she would have voted to allow the passage of the Agreement to proceed, with a reservation). This request for two separate votes was denied by the AIIC Negotiating Delegation’s spokesperson and a single decision was demanded, and she allowed passage of the Agreement to proceed.
She also had no prior warning of Eliane Masry’s formal reservation, but, on hearing the arguments adduced in it, she requested the floor and made her above statement.
After the AIIC Negotiating Delegation’s spokesperson had made his statement in response to the queries of the two members of the UN CEB Delegation, she requested to speak a second time in order to clarify her position to the Organisations herself by stating that her endorsement of the reservation did not betoken opposition to the Agreement, for which she would vote in favour at the forthcoming World Sectoral Meeting. However, the spokesperson refused her request to make this explanatory statement.
Recommended citation format:United Nations Negotiating Delegation. "UN - report of the ND on the outcome of the negotiations with the UN CEB". aiic.net January 14, 2012. Accessed May 21, 2019. <http://aiic.net/p/3806>.
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