"STAFF UNIONS PETITION: Staff retiring from UN organizations must now wait six months before receiving their first pension payment, putting thousands in financial penury. This follows the calamitous implementation of a new IT system at the UN joint staff pension fund. Its CEO, Sergio Arvizu has since last summer refused to acknowledge the severity of the problem nor propose adequate steps to deal with it. He also ignored advice that could have prevented the crisis in the first place. The fund urgently needs a new CEO.
We call on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to:
terminate CEO Arvizu's contract,
push for an urgent meeting of the pension fund's board to resolve the crisis,
start the search for a new, competent CEO, and
pay interest on late pension payments.
As a staff member or retiree, your participation in this petition will make a difference. Ban Ki-moon has terminated senior staff for much less.
In May 2015, the UN pension fund put in place a new IT system for processing and paying pension benefits, called iPAS. Without checking that iPAS worked, the old system was switched off.
The new system didn't start functioning until September 2015, and since then only partially. The still slow performance of iPAS means that despite working nights and weekends, pension fund staff are struggling with the backlog. Newly retiring staff from UN organizations must wait 6 months on average before receiving their first pension payment, despite having rent, food bills, school fees and other expenses to cover. Calls by newly retired staff to the pension fund go unanswered while their files lie in floor-to-ceiling piles at pension fund headquarters in New York.
In the year leading up to the implementation of the iPAS, pension fund staff and their union representatives made repeated calls for more staff and resources to be made available to cope with problems that might occur with the introduction of a new IT system. These calls were ignored.
Instead the CEO and his team twice engaged in futile efforts to secure more autonomy for the fund from the UN so that they could circumvent UN recruitment and procurement rules. While their efforts were blocked thanks to a campaign led by staff unions and petitions signed by 16,000 staff and retirees, this constituted a huge and unnecessary distraction for the CEO and diverted his attention from the key priority of ensuring the proper implementation of iPAS.
At the same time the CEO wasted further energy lobbying against efforts by staff unions to request that serious allegations of mismanagement by him be investigated by the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services.
Since iPAS was implemented, staff unions and UN organizations have on several occasions contacted Arvizu about the delays. Each time he has either refused to acknowledge the severity of the issue, his latest communication (see link at bottom) being a case in point, or has proceeded to publicly blame his own staff. At no point has he accepted responsibility for what has occurred. At the same time the Chair of the pension fund's board, Olusoji Adeniyi, has declined calls for it to convene an emergency meeting to resolve the crisis.
It is now clear that the CEO is not the right person to solve the problems at the pension fund, nor provide inspired leadership to his staff. The fund needs a new CEO."
The CEO's futile campaign to gain greater autonomy for the pension fund: