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UN Tour Guides Strike For Better Conditions

From those champions of labor at the Associated Press:

UN Tour Guides Protest Pay, Conditions

December 7th, 2007
By EDITH M. LEDERER

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Twenty-two tour guides called in sick on Thursday to protest the U.N.’s failure to deal with their demands for better salaries and working conditions, forcing all but large, prearranged tours to be canceled.

The United Nations employs about 50 guides, who each work around 30 hours a week, showing visitors around the headquarters building in New York.

Only six are staff members, said Emad Hassanin, first vice president of the U.N. Staff Union. The rest are paid on an hourly basis and don’t have regular contracts, vacation, or sick leave, he said…

Hassanin said a previous agreement to establish a working group to discuss contracts and working conditions for the tour guides was thrown out by the new Undersecretary-General for Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka.

But Okabe said a meeting with the tour guides had been scheduled for Thursday afternoon to again discuss creating a working group.

It was unclear if any of the tour guides showed up, but Akasaka later informed U.N. officials by e-mail that he had set up a group. It includes three representatives of the tour guides and two staff representatives of the Department of Public Information.

Hassanin said the Staff Union leadership had pointedly been excluded. The old agreement had called for union leaders to be included.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asked about the tour guides, said the fact that 22 called in sick “must have caused some inconvenience to the tours.”

“Tour guides are very important (in) connecting the United Nations and the outside world — they have been playing an important role,” he said.

Ah, so. The tour guides for the UN are non-unionized, part-time, contract hires, who are given the benefit of neither health insurance nor vacations.

Mind you, this is the self-same United Nations which is always demanding unions, healthcare benefits and all of the other accoutrements of socialism for everyone else.

In typical fashion, the UN’s solution is to promise to hold a bunch of meetings about the problem. Maybe they will even get around to writing a stiff letter.

“Tour guides are very important (in) connecting the United Nations and the outside world — they have been playing an important role,” he said.

Well, maybe the tour guides don’t really deserve more pay or any benefits or vacation time. For clearly they have not been doing their job.

For surely there is no place on the planet that is more out of touch with the “outside world” than the United Nations.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, December 8th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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