The National Staff Association of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), has asked the national employees of the mission to observe a “suspension of service” on Thursday 23 August 2007. This decision results from some grievances that are the subject of ongoing discussions between the association and the administration of the mission.
It should be recalled that all United Nations staff, national as well as international, have committed themselves to be at all times at the service of the mission and that their status is not governed by collective conventions or agreements. This was clearly explained to national staff representatives who met yesterday for almost two hours with MONUC management, who took good note of the preoccupations they expressed.
These essentially relate to the conditions of service for national staff, notably issues of wages, grading, classification of posts and of some benefits. While some of these issues could be addressed at the level of the mission, others pertain to the United Nations system in general.
The administration of the mission will spare no effort to settle the issues that are within its ambit, through constructive dialogue, and taking into account the constraints and the inescapable administrative and financial realities of the United Nations and, therefore, of MONUC. The engagement of the administration of the mission is an indication of a genuine will to arrive at a satisfactory resolution of any differences.
It should be emphasized that, after the DRC government civil service division in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUC is among the most important civilian employers in the country. Furthermore, MONUC notably intervenes in areas of peacekeeping, and provides security to civilian populations in several parts of the country, through its support to the Armed Forces of the DRC and the Congolese National Police.
It also ensures that hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people have access to humanitarian help. It would therefore be regrettable if the actions of the Staff Association resulted in a negative impact on the capacity of the mission to fulfill its essential tasks.
MONUC urges national staff members who took the responsibility and made the personal choice of observing this “suspension of service” to refrain from any act of intimidation towards their colleagues that have decided to continue working.
MONUC is confident that realistic discussions, conducted in good faith with the representatives of its national staff will allow a positive resolution of the situation.