Making the FSU Better
The UNFSU faces many internal and external challenges to realizing its full potential for efficiency and effectiveness. The UNFSU functions across multiple interfaces through certain mechanisms, each having its own shortfalls. We identify four interfaces: 1) between local committees and the staff they represent; 2) between local committees and the Executives; 3) between the Executives and sister unions and federations; and 4) between the Executives and Management, whether directly or through its parent federation.
The extent of knowledge, experience, commitment and analytical skills of staff representatives at both the local and Executive levels play a major role in the overall output of the UNFSU. Equally, the extent of mutual and continuous engagement between staff and their representatives is crucial to learning about staff issues, formulating positions and building trust.
The Council is the main channel through which staff voices and the actions taken by the UNFSU are funneled through committees’ chairs. The consistency in the two-way communication between the Executives and Council members as well as among members, is the cornerstone to learning, exchanging knowledge, increasing expertise. There are no well-established mechanisms yet to achieve this periodically enough.
The relationship with the 11 sister unions and the 2 sister federations is of a political nature. By virtue of the difference in nature of the workforce each represents, there often arises a conflict of interests, some of which can be moderated and some others not. Building consensus among all unions in the face of management and safeguarding the rights and wellbeing of each constituency at the same time is a hard ball game.
There is an overall power imbalance between staff and management, partly due to the aforementioned challenges but mostly by virtue of inherent advantages Management has: much more resources in terms of funds, time and manpower, the full accessibility to information and initiation of policies, management’s hierarchical authority vs. staff’s peer to peer structures and, the functional consistency, succession and expertise in HR, Finance, Legal and policymaking vs. the functional diversity and changing composition of a union.
The complexity of issues the UNFSU handles today necessitates a serious focus on how to make it a stronger representative body, thus the need to address those challenges, some of which can be offset by overcoming others, some others can be handled independently, and some are not within reach.
We strongly believe it is imperative to reform, institutionalize and modernize how the UNFSU operates. We need a remodeled UNFSU focused on building and managing knowledge, sharing and communicating with its constituency and garnering common rational positions. We need an empowered UNFSU that plays a key balancing role in the organization and can eventually take initiatives and not only react to developments.
In light of the above, we shall follow a strategic approach consisting of a set of omnidirectional reforms aimed at the various internal components which total up the performance of the UNFSU. We shall aim to achieve the following:
- Increase the financial resources of the UNFSU;
- Create a platform for the exchange of cross-cutting issues among local committees;
- Introduce a level of regional representation to better organize and institutionalize the work of the UNFSU and to increase the manpower capacity;
- Get more UNFSU members on full-time release approved (for example the regional representatives) to increase the dedicated manpower capacity;
- Conduct staff representation training and workshops;
- Create thematic Working Groups to formulate positions and policy initiatives;
- Utilize and employ different talents from the staff at large in support of the efficiency and effectiveness of the UNFSU;
- Increase the number of Council meetings through ad hoc meetings by VTC and other modern technologies of collaboration platforms;
- Ensure committees’ periodic meetings as well as committees’ general meetings with the staff as per the UNFSU Constitution;
- Encourage staff to take an active role in their local committees;
- Introduce the concept of periodic VTCs with missions by the Executives to exchange issues and updates on the work of the Executives;
- Promote electronic forums for the participation of staff at large on different themes and topics;
- Introduce the concept of a UNFSU Annual Activity Report (in addition to the annual Council Meeting Report) that draws from each committee’s minutes of meetings and Executives activities.
- Increase the number of Executive visits to the field;
- Introduce the concept of periodic VTCs with sister unions and semi-annual meetings with the federations to increase synergy and strengthen the global staff representation.