Preliminary remark : CCAQ has on several occasions attempted to deal with General Service entitlements to salaries and allowances in bulk - i.e. it has considered entitlement to a particular allowance not in the context of that allowance for Professional staff but in the context of all other allowances for General Service staff. In this edition of the Handbook, as in the previous one, each entitlement is treated in the context of the specific allowance concerned.

(1) At the 12th session (April 1952: CO-ORDINATION/R.124) CCAQ agreed that as regards General Service staff in offices away from headquarters areas revisions of salary schedules would normally become effective from 1 January following the submission of information; UN would maintain a consolidated list of local salary rates agreed for each area.

The agreement reached contains also detailed provisions intended to ensure effective co-ordination between agencies.

(2) At the 13th session (September 1952: CO-ORDINATION/R.132) the Committee accepted for the guidance of its members a set of guiding principles and procedures for establishment of local salary schedules.

(3) At the second part of the 17th session (April 1956: CO-ORDINATION/R.224, paras. 30-32) it was reported that the system for determining local salary rates at offices away from headquarters was proving unsatisfactory.

(4) The Salary Review Committee had proposed that the General Service category should be extended upwards to include posts of a "servicing" character, but there were objections to the proposal in the Fifth Committee of UN General Assembly. At its special session on salary matters (March 1957: CO-ORDINATION/R.244, paras. 55-57) CCAQ agreed that the number of levels in an area should be fixed according to local circumstances. In areas where several organizations were involved there should be consultation prior to addition of new levels.

(5) At the 18th session (March 1957: CO-ORDINATION/R.245, paras. 10-13) CCAQ agreed on a provisional arrangement whereby WHO and UN would be responsible for local salary determinations in field offices, including, where appropriate, rates for dependency allowances. For areas where a single organization other than UN or WHO had an office, either of these two agencies was to provide, if requested and if practicable, detailed assistance.

(6) At the 19th session (March 1958: CO-ORDINATION/R.264, paras. 36-61) CCAQ revised the inter-agency agreement on "Guiding Principles and Procedures for Establishment and Revision of Local Salary Rates" (reproduced as Annex II to CO-ORDINATION/R.264).

Alternative proposals of UNESCO (CO-ORDINATION/R.264, paras. 49-54) for a major modification of the Guiding Principles were not adopted, but it was agreed that the modification might be applied experimentally by UNESCO in the Paris area.

(The method of establishing these rates was further revised at the 24th session - see para. (15) below.)

(7) At the 20th session (April 1959: CO-ORDINATION/R.295, paras. 47-49) UNESCO reported on the modified system of determination of local salary rates, based on the local cost-of-living index. UNESCO's General Conference had decided that the system should be subject to review after two years.

FAO and IAEA reported on difficulties experienced in carrying out the standard "best prevailing rates" surveys annually. The Committee noted that both agencies intended to apply the cost-of-living index approach and to conduct their "best prevailing rates" surveys every two years.

(8) Also at the 20th session (April 1959: CO-ORDINATION/R.295, para. 79) the Committee reverted to the question of extension of the General Service category, examining a report thereon from UN. At the first part of the 21st session (April 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, paras. 54-62) most organizations confirmed that they were interested in the addition of levels to the category for a variety of reasons. At certain field stations, moreover, some organizations needed to recruit local nationals even for certain Professional or technical posts, and thought that their rates of pay should reflect local circumstances. UN and WHO had worked out a procedure for establishing extra levels at field offices. It was agreed that normal CCAQ machinery would be used for this purpose; CCAQ approved the draft UN/WHO procedures and agreed that they be incorporated in the general instructions to field offices regarding the collection and submission of data required to fix the scales. Where revised salary schedules included added levels for special substantive or semi-professional duties (or which were to be used by only one organization) an appropriate indication would be given in the schedule.

GATT stated that in its view there was general need for a third category to include posts now in the Professional category but requiring no real professional qualifications. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that it was considering the creation of such a category for its "technical assistants". The majority of CCAQ, however, felt that it was undesirable to have a third category and preferable to extend the General Service category, perhaps finding a better nomenclature for the posts.

(9) At the first part of the 21st session (April 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, Annex II) the Committee agreed to a procedure for extending the General Service category at field offices, for incorporation into the instructions to such offices regarding collection of data, etc. (see para. (8) above). This distinguished between the need for a more senior level for clerical, etc. work, and the need for a grade for semi-Professional or technical work required for a local programme and to be performed by a local recruit. The fact that some staff had reached the ceiling of old grades was not a reason for adding new scales, nor did the addition of new scales imply any expectancy of promotion for any particular official in a lower grade.

(10) At the same time (CO-ORDINATION/R.325, paras. 27-29) the Committee reviewed the experience of Paris and Rome with the use of cost-of-living index as the basis for adjustment of local salaries. The system was said to have simplified administration, but CCAQ did not contemplate its extension to other places. It did, however, prepare a comprehensive statement of General Service entitlements at all offices - see Annex I of CO-ORDINATION/R.325; this was intended to be a codification of the principles already agreed at the 15th session (1954: CO-ORDINATION/R.162), 19th session (1958: CO-ORDINATION/R.264) and 20th session (1959: CO-ORDINATION/R.295).

(11) The Committee also recorded (CO-ORDINATION/R.325, Annex I) that General Service staff should be paid in local currency, except that non-locals might be permitted to draw part of their pay in the currency of their home country.

(12) Finally, at the same session (CO-ORDINATION/R.325, paras. 30-31) CCAQ discussed difficulties of collecting and interpreting data on fringe benefits in the evaluation of local scales. CCAQ confirmed that ordinarily no monetary account should be taken of such benefits, on the grounds that they were offset by other benefits of the common system.

(13) At the first part of the 22nd session (April 1961: CO-ORDINATION/R.351, para. 44) some of the organizations at Geneva were reported to be contemplating the use of a cost-of-living index or a wages index as a basis for adjustment. Subsequently, Staff Office was requested to prepare a comprehensive study of methods of fixing General Service pay. This was later issued in COORD/CC.23/4.

(14) At the 23rd session (March 1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, paras. 26-34) CCAQ was informed that the organizations in Geneva had set up a committee of experts to examine certain problems encountered in fixing General Service pay scales in Geneva. Since the report of this committee was likely to have an impact on the position in other cities, CCAQ decided that full consideration of the Staff Office study should be deferred to a working party, which would meet in late July 1962 and would take into account the report of the Geneva committee of experts.

(15) At the 24th session (March 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, para. 27) CCAQ examined the working party report (COORD/CC/SO/34) and, except as regards a few subsidiary points, agreed upon revised, detailed methods for establishing General Service salaries and allowances. The Committee's conclusions are recorded in Appendix D of CO-ORDINATION/R.430. Subject to the amendments described in the following paragraphs, Appendix D was the authoritative source to be consulted for details as to interpretation of survey data, treatment of fringe benefits, etc., before the introduction of the methodology introduced by ICSC in 1982.

(16) At its 25th session (1964: CO-ORDINATION/R.451, paras. 16-17) CCAQ agreed, subject to a number of editorial amendments which organizations would communicate to Staff Office, the text of an instruction implementing the revision of the Guiding Principles referred to in para (15) (see COORD/CC/SO/72). It was agreed also that when this revision had been issued in final form it would be referred to ICSAB for review.

(17) At the same session (1964: CO-ORDINATION/R.451, paras. 25-26) CCAQ noted that extended levels of the General Service category were being used for three different types of post:

(a) a kind of super-clerical grade;

(b) technical posts for which the local pay scale was outside the range for secretarial or clerical work;

(c) in field locations, by some organizations, a kind of local professional post.

Two organizations expressed concern at the development of the last variety of post: TAB on the other hand suggested that a local professional category should be formally created. CCAQ decided, however, that it would be preferable to allow special local needs to be met empirically for the time being and reconsider the question of a separate category at a later date.

(18) The revision of the Guiding Principles agreed at the 25th session (see para. (16)) was reviewed by ICSAB at its XIIIth session. For the most part the CCAQ text was approved by the Board which, however, suggested certain modifications - see ICSAB/XIII/3.

(19) The Board's suggestions were approved by ACC (see CO-ORDINATION/R.532, Annex F). At its 28th session (March 1967: CO-ORDINATION/R.604, para. 66) CCAQ agreed that the text of the existing instruction on implementation of the guiding principles should be revised during 1967 to take account of the Board's report. At the same session the Committee was informed that UNESCO was studying the possibility of eliminating the disadvantages of the dual system of remuneration for Professional and General Service staff. CCAQ felt that this question was of such importance that all organizations should have an opportunity to comment on the provisional conclusions of the UNESCO study before the latter was published or presented to ICSAB. UNESCO thought that this could be arranged.

(20) At its 29th session (March 1968: CO-ORDINATION/R.669, para. 2) CCAQ agreed that any organization proposing to add an extended level to its General Service category should consult other organizations through Staff Office.

(21) At its 29th session (March 1968: CO-ORDINATION/R.669, paras. 12-19) CCAQ examined the UNESCO proposals in detail. With UNESCO dissenting, it expressed the view that the introduction of the new system would not be desirable. It felt that ICSAB should examine not only the UNESCO proposals but all other suggested modifications of the guiding principles which various organizations were studying.

(22) Also at its 29th session (CO-ORDINATION/R.669, paras. 69-71) CCAQ examined certain problems relating to General Service staff conditions in field areas:

(a) It noted that in duty stations where the cost of living increased very rapidly the UN (which together with WHO has primary responsibility for operating the General Service pay system in field offices) would be prepared to take exceptional action by way of approving cost-of-living bonuses rather than revision of base scales if outside employers take such action. Resident Representatives should inform UN or WHO, as appropriate, promptly, of action taken by outside employers. There need then be no undue delay in action by UN/WHO. Where necessary, an official could be sent from Headquarters to ascertain the local facts to facilitate appropriate action.

(b) It noted that some organizations were not implementing the CCAQ agreement, reached in 1960 (CO-ORDINATION/R.325, para. 45) that where General Service staff are assigned to a field station for one year or more their entitlements should be based on the local pay scale plus non-resident's allowance at the duty station to which they are assigned. CCAQ suggested that Resident Representatives might do more to co-ordinate inter-organization action on the lines of the agreement. CCAQ believed that organizations should work steadily towards a position where at field offices, as elsewhere, all General Service staff would be recruited locally or semi-locally.

(c) It agreed that Staff Office work programme for 1968/1969 should include a study to ascertain precisely what various organizations' practices were. The study should cover the question of shipment of cars for internationally recruited General Service staff appointed or transferred to field offices.

(23) At the 30th session (March 1969: CO-ORDINATION/R.733, para. 50) UNESCO reported that, considering ACC and ICSAB views it had not taken action on its 1968 proposal, but was continuing its studies on the problem.

(24) At its 31st session (March 1970: CO-ORDINATION/R.798, paras. 14-18) CCAQ examined new UNESCO proposals for establishing General Service salaries in Paris. It was agreed that UNESCO should refer these to ICSAB and that the views of other organizations should be given in a separate paper to be prepared by CCAQ secretariat. CCAQ also agreed on the text of a factual report to the Board on developments in the application of the guiding principles for General Service pay (see ICSAB/XVIII/R.9).

(25) At the same session (March 1970: CO-ORDINATION/R.798, para. 64) CCAQ noted that differences in conditions, both in salaries and allowances, persisted among non-local staff of different organizations in the same field duty station. There appeared to be no ready solution to the problem, but CCAQ reiterated the view that the objective of all organizations should be to ensure that General Service staff in all duty stations were paid at local rates of salary with the addition of non-resident's allowance (NRA) (see section 2.5) for those who had to be recruited from outside the area.

(26) At the 33rd session (March 1971: CO-ORDINATION/R.863, paras. 16-22) UNESCO stated its intention to propose to its Executive Board new bases for establishing General Service salaries at Paris. The proposals were similar to those referred to in para. (24) above (which ICSAB had not endorsed). CCAQ felt, with UNESCO dissenting, that the proposals were unsound and that any change in the system should be deferred until the Special Committee for the review of the common system of salaries had reported on the subject.

(27) At its 35th session (March 1972: CO-ORDINATION/R.931, para. 54) CCAQ examined a UN/UNDP proposal designed to provide relief, particularly in small duty stations, for the problem of staff who reached the top step of their scales and then, because of the smallness of the office, found further career progression impossible. Current practice provided for ten-step scales, despite the fact that local practice frequently provided longer scales with varying incremental periods. CCAQ agreed that in establishing scales at field duty stations, UN and WHO should take into account local practice with regard to both length of scale and incremental period.

(28) At its Special Session No. 1 (January 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1133, para. 5 and Add.3), CCAQ agreed to a draft ACC text (later cleared by correspondence) for ICSC on remuneration of the General Service category (ICSC/R.36). It called for an amplification of the basic principles, and for a set of procedures taking account of the varying circumstances of duty stations.

(29) The survey of General Service salaries in Geneva which started in the last months of 1975 by the collection of data on the best prevailing local conditions by an external consultant, went through several phases, among others a strike at the UN Geneva office from 25 February to 3 March 1976, before the signature on 23 April 1976 of an agreement by the sole negotiator designated by the Secretary-General, by the representatives of the executive heads of the Geneva-based agencies, and by representatives of the staff. The General Service salaries were increased accordingly from 11 per cent (G-6/G-7) to 15 per cent (G-l/G-2) effective 1 August 1975 (for a detailed account see JIU/REP/76/6 or A/3l/137).

(30) In 1976, the Governing Body of WHO (resolution 29.25), of ILO (200th session, para. 40) and the General Assembly (A/31/141, part A, para. 2), requested ICSC to "assume its functions under paragraph 1 of Article 12 of its statute, particularly in respect to Geneva". The Commission organized a new survey in Geneva in the early months of 1977, the results of which were discussed at its 6th session (August 1977, (ICSC/R.96)). In its third annual report the Commission recommended a net salary scale for General Service staff at that duty station involving reductions averaging on a weighted basis 17.4 per cent (UN document A/32/30, Chapter IV and Annex III), and made a number of related recommendations. The representatives of the staff stated that they could not subscribe to the Commission's findings (A/32/30, para. 182).

(31) The Secretary-General informed the Fifth Committee on 22 November 1977 that he and the executive heads of the Geneva-based agencies were in basic agreement to accept the Commission's report and its findings, and had also reached basic agreement on transitional arrangements for the implementation (see UN documents A/C.5/31/51 and ST/IC/78/1, and General Assembly resolution 32/200 of 21 December 1977). The new salary scales were introduced effective 1 January 1978 (except in ILO - see para. (32) below). A "Personal Transitional Allowance" was paid to staff members, who remained at work since before 1 January 1978 with no interruptions of 31 days or more, in order to keep their pay at the level of 1978. The PTA was paid until the new salary scale reached the level of pay of 1978, after interim salary adjustment - which was the case in 1981-1983.

(32) After negotiations with its staff, ILO decided to pay all staff in post on 1 January 1979 according to the old scale, until such time as the new scale would have reached the level of the old one. Effective 1 March 1981, that scale, applicable to staff recruited before 1 January 1979, was increased by 3 per cent. This gave rise to a general discussion in ICSC, which was reported to the General Assembly (A/36/30, paras. 126-138).

(33) Staff members of WHO, WMO and GATT submitted a recourse against the decision of their executive head to the ILO Administrative Tribunal. Their claim was rejected.

(34) At its resumed 43rd session (April 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1162, para. 21) CCAQ agreed that, to ensure uniform application of the recent agreement on General Service salaries in Geneva, the increase referred to in para. 5 of the agreement would be applied to all staff members who, on separation from service on or after 1 August 1975, became entitled to a periodic benefit from the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund or from the pension fund of an organization.

(35) At its resumed 44th session (September 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1176, paras. l4, l5 and Annex IV), CCAQ adopted draft ACC comments on the report of the JIU on aspects of the strike at the UN Geneva Office in February-March 1976 (JIU/REP/76/6), in particular on the three recommendations affecting the common system of salaries and allowances. (The approved ACC text was issued as UN document A/31/137/Add.l.) The General Assembly dealt with the JIU report in resolution 31/193 B of 22 December 1976.

(36) At its 46th session (January 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1203, para. 15 and Add.l and Corr.1), CCAQ agreed on the text of a factual report by ACC on the General Service category, for presentation to ICSC.

(37) At the same session (CO-ORDINATION/R.1203, para. 16 and Add.2), CCAQ also agreed on a draft ACC presentation to ICSC on methods of establishing General Service remuneration. It concluded that for global application the basic principle of "best prevailing conditions" remained sound, and it proposed guidelines and procedures for selecting the local employers to be surveyed, criteria for selecting jobs on which to base comparisons, and guidelines for collecting and evaluating data and for constructing General Service salary scales. The Committee also agreed on a number of points of detail on methodology (para. 18). At Part II of the same session (February/March 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1208, para. 5), CCAQ elaborated on some of the views expressed in the above paper.

(38) On the basis of its Paris survey in 1978, ICSC in its fourth annual report recommended a net salary scale for General Service staff in that duty station involving reductions at some levels and increases at other (UN document A/33/30, paras. 302-308 and Annex V). The General Conference of UNESCO subsequently approved a salary scale based on proposals from the Director-General of UNESCO, which involved lower reductions and greater increases in the existing scale than those recommended by ICSC.

(39) On the basis of its London survey in 1978-1979, ICSC recommended at its ninth session a net salary scale for General Service staff at that duty station involving increases averaging 15.4 per cent (ICSC/R.169).

(40) At its 54th session (March 1981: ACC/1981/7, paras. 41-46) CCAQ began consideration of a revision of the general methodology for surveys of best prevailing conditions of employment, which was being undertaken by ICSC under article 11 of its statute. CCAQ agreed to a phased approach, but urged that the situation of field duty stations be looked into as well as headquarters. In order to prepare itself for this work, CCAQ established a working party, with substantial FICSA input, to formulate a position; the Committee's views, based on the report of the working party, were examined at the 55th session (July 1981) in document ACC/1981/PER/6/Rev.1. ICSC was requested to postpone further consideration of this question until 1982.

(41) At its 56th session (March 1982: ACC/1981/5, para. 51) CCAQ agreed to advise ICSC that, with respect to headquarters duty stations, the procedure for periodic adjustments of General Service salaries should be automatic; the index used should be one commonly used by surveyed employers; and that a minimum movement of 5 per cent should normally be required before any adjustment was made.

(42) At its 57th session (July 1982: ACC/1981/23, paras. 33-34 and annex III) CCAQ formulated detailed comments on the methodology for use in headquarters duty stations.

(43) ICSC promulgated the methodology for headquarters duty stations in its 8th (1982) annual report (A/37/30, Annex II).

(44) At its 58th session (March 1983: ACC/1983/9, paras. 25-28) CCAQ agreed that it would volunteer to prepare the basic document containing a draft methodology for non-headquarters duty stations, aiming at having concrete proposals to make to ICSC at its 19th session (March 1984). A progress report was considered by CCAQ and ICSC at the 59th session of CCAQ and 18th session of ICSC (July 1983).

(45) At its 60th session (March 1984: ACC/1984/9, paras. 33-49), CCAQ prepared its views on the draft methodology for surveys at non-headquarters duty stations. In this connection, it agreed to establish a salary survey specialist post, jointly financed by the organizations, in order to improve the arrangements for carrying out salary surveys in the field (for practical arrangements, see section 16.7). The Committee also agreed, in conjunction with the imminent approval of the non-headquarters methodology, to seek to establish a common length of work week at each field duty station (ACC/1984/9, para. 39). In this latter connection, see also section 3.6, para. (5).

(46) At its 20th session (July 1984: A/39/30, para. 182, see also ICSC/20/R.6/Add.1), ICSC approved the general methodology for comprehensive salary surveys and interim adjustments at non-headquarters duty stations for promulgation effective 1 January 1985. It decided to review the methodology at its 25th or 26th session (1987); at the same time the headquarters salary survey methodology should be reviewed to ensure that there was consistency between the two methodologies.

(47) At its 63rd session (July 1985: ACC/1985/14, para. 110) CCAQ approved a local salary survey manual prepared under the auspices of UNDP, for use in salary surveys in non-headquarters duty stations, with effect from 1 July 1985. The maintenance of the manual was entrusted to the CCAQ secretariat.

(48) Following completion of the second round of surveys, ICSC decided at its 26th session (July 1987) on a number of adjustments to the existing methodology for General Service salary surveys at Headquarters duty stations; following further consultations with organizations and staff representatives on the wording of the revisions, the revised methodology would be submitted for approval at the 27th session (ICSC/26/R.25, para. 75). Detailed comments were presented by CCAQ (ACC/1987/10, Annex III.) The Commission also approved the schedule for the third round of Headquarters surveys (ibid., paras. 83-85).

(49) At the same session (ibid, para. 81), the Commission took note of a document prepared by CCAQ concerning the operation of the general methodology for salary surveys at non-HQ duty stations approved at its 20th session (July 1984) and effective since 1 January 1985. It decided to schedule an in-depth review at a future session.

(50) At its 67th session (July 1987), CCAQ agreed on a revised apportionment formula for jointly-funded salary survey activities for the period 1988-1990 (ACC/1987/10, paras. 136-137 and annex VI). This was subsequently endorsed by CCAQ(FB) (see section 16.7, para. B.29-30).

(51) At its 68th session (February-March 1988: ACC/1988/4, paras. 44-50), CCAQ commented on a revised methodology, to be cleared at the next session of ICSC, for surveys of best prevailing conditions of service at Headquarters duty stations. It made several suggestions and expressed some reservations. ICSC approved its revised methodology (A/43/30, para. 71).

(52) Following a proposal by WHO at the same session that ICSC be asked to take over from it future responsibility for establishing the relevant facts for and making recommendations on a General Service scale in India, CCAQ, after consultations, asked WHO to continue as the responsible agency, and agreed that the United Nations and other organizations with significant numbers of General Service staff in India would pool resources for surveys (ACC/1988/4, paras. 51-54).

(53) At its 69th session (July 1988: ACC/1988/12, paras. 101, 102), CCAQ endorsed recommendations of the New York Local Salary Survey Steering Committee on the use of in-kind emoluments (food baskets) as a supplement to local salary scales at field duty stations. The Steering Committee recommended inter alia that such food baskets be only temporary or preferably avoided altogether, and laid down guidelines for their quantification into pensionable remuneration and their relation to other allowances and payments (see also ACC/1988/4, paras. 55-57).

(54) In the context of a proposal by WHO to pay a lump sum to General Service staff in India, CCAQ at its 70th session (March 1989: ACC/1989/6, paras. 60-64), reaffirmed the principles that (a) if a comprehensive General Service survey revealed that the salaries being paid at some or all grades were higher than justified by best prevailing conditions, appropriate measures must be taken to bring the scale to its proper level; and (b) the decision as to which measures would be most appropriate would depend on a number of factors pertaining to the duty station concerned. In the specific case of India, the Committee decided to apply a further softening of the indexation already used for interim adjustments in New Delhi since 1 January 1987.

(55) In the report of its 14th (May 1989) session, ACPAQ recommended that the results of recent cost-of-living surveys in Geneva and Vienna not be applied, in view of the technical limitations of the data resulting from low participation by staff. At its 71st session (July-August 1989: ACC/1989/14, para. 124), CCAQ supported that position, but ICSC subsequently decided in favour of implementation, effective 1 September 1989 (A/44/30, vol. I, paras. 78, 79).

(56) At its 72nd session (February-March 1990: ACC/1990/4, paras. 92, 93) CCAQ agreed that pending a general review by ICSC of conditions of service for the General Service and related categories, thought should be given to measures that could already be implemented in line with those arising from the comprehensive review of conditions of service for the Professional and higher categories.

(57) In its report for 1990 ICSC recommended that the Executive Heads of ILO and WHO bring to the attention of their legislative bodies the matter of additional steps in their salary scales for the General Service and related categories, and recommend that rewards for staff be provided not through the extension of salary scales but by the payment of one-time non-pensionable cash awards to reward merit (A/45/30, paras. 143-162; see also section 2.15).

(58) At its 73rd session (July 1990: ACC/1990/10, paras. 61-64) CCAQ considered the measures to be taken in cases where an interim adjustment in General Service salaries was granted after the reference date of a comprehensive survey, and the survey results were such as to negate the results of the interim adjustment. It advised ICSC that in its view the best way to avoid such problems was to schedule surveys so that interim adjustments did not fall due between the reference date and the approval date of the results. If the Commission's meetings schedule made that impossible, it might delegate the consideration of survey results to a panel of Commission members, on the understanding that any points of contention were brought to the attention of the full Commission.

(59) On the basis of surveys of best prevailing conditions of service, ICSC recommended - alongside a new General Service salary scale (see para. (43) above) - new scales for the Trades and Crafts and Security Service categories in New York, as at 1 October 1989 (A/45/30, para. 222 and annex XVII).

(60) The recommended scale for the General Service category in New York was not accepted by the Secretary-General, who established a Joint Advisory Committee with representation from UN, UNDP/UNFPA and UNICEF to review the conduct and the results of the survey. Subsequently the Secretary-General implemented, effective 1 October 1989, the scale that went into effect on 1 November 1989 through application of the normal interim adjustment procedure. In its 1990 report to the General Assembly the Commission dealt at length with these developments. It noted that its recommended scale for the General Service category was 0.3 per cent higher than the scale in effect on 1 October 1989 but 4.6 per cent lower than the scale implemented by the Secretary-General. Calling the attention of the General Assembly to the Secretary-General's decision, the Commission declared that the technical reasons advanced did not appear to be well-founded since the survey had been carried out in a technically correct way and neither the administrations' own representatives nor those of the staff had been able, during discussion of the survey results in the Commission, to substantiate any violation of the methodology. ICSC expressed regret at the Secretary-General's action because it violated the principle of best prevailing local conditions and set an unfortunate precedent which could harm the common system. It could also damage the Commission's authority and thus its capacity to function as its statute envisaged (A/45/30, paras. 289-306).

(61) Dealing with this matter at its 45th session, the Assembly decided that the scale implemented by the Secretary-General should not constitute a precedent for future salary surveys, and asked the Secretary-General to adjust New York General Service salaries to levels consistent with best prevailing rates as determined by ICSC so that there would be no disparity by the time of the next survey. It further asked the Secretary-General to report on procedures whereby executive heads could not take measures at variance with Commission recommendations on General Service salary scales without prior consultations with the Commission and appropriate inter-governmental bodies (resolution 45/241, section XIII).

(62) At its 73rd session (July 1990: ACC/1990/10, paras. 57-59), with ITU and UNESCO dissenting, CCAQ concurred in a proposal before ICSC that the "two steps on promotion" measure already approved for the Professional and higher categories to stimulate motivation and productivity (A/44/30, vol. II, para. 357(a); General Assembly resolution 44/198) be also applied to the General Service and related categories. The Commission, however, concluded that on this issue there was no automatic linkage between the categories; it should be addressed in the context of a general review of conditions of service for the General Service and related categories (A/45/30, para. 234).

(63) At its 73rd session (ACC/1990/10, para. 51) CCAQ also concluded that the new Field Service remuneration package recommended by ICSC (see section 10.1) should not be applied to internationally-recruited General Service staff.

(64) The 1987 decision of ICSC to adjust downward by 2.4 per cent the salary scales for the General Service and related categories in Vienna, to account for the commissary benefit available to staff there, was successfully challenged before the ILO Administrative Tribunal, and at the Commissions's 31st session (March 1990) IAEA indicated that it would adhere to the judgement and asked ICSC to recommend a new salary scale. This the Commission did.

(65) At its 75th session (July-August 1991: ACC/1991/17, paras. 70-72) CCAQ reviewed the timetable and procedures proposed by ICSC for its impending review of methodologies for salary surveys at both headquarters and non-headquarters duty stations (General Assembly resolution 45/241, section XIII). It intended to complete the headquarters methodology in 1992 and address the non-headquarters methodology in 1993 (A/46/30, vol. I, paras. 176-184).

(66) On the basis of surveys of best prevailing conditions of service, ICSC recommended - alongside new General Service salary scales (see para. (43) above) - new scales for language teaching staff at Geneva and Vienna, at 1 January and 1 April 1991 respectively. The new Geneva scales went into effect on 1 January. The recommended scales at Vienna were respectively 2.05 and 6.7 per cent lower than the existing scales for the General Service and for language teaching staff; the Commission expected that transitional implementation measures would apply to ensure no reduction in salaries (A/46/30, vol. I, paras. 174, 175 and annexes VII and VIII).

(67) At its 76th session (March 1992: ACC/1992/6, paras. 67-71) CCAQ reviewed the work of an informal working group on the survey methodology and a note on the recruitment and retention of General Service staff and grade overlap with the Professional category. The Committee stressed that the Flemming principle of "best prevailing rates" enabled the organizations to compete in local labour markets and should be maintained as a cornerstone of the methodology. Details of the methodology should be judged by whether they enabled the organizations to recruit and retain staff at reasonable cost. At its 35th session the Commission set up a tripartite Working Group (three members of the Commission, three nominated by the organizations and two each from FICSA and CCISUA) to study the Flemming principle, the modalities for its application and the survey methodology (ICSC/35/R.17, para. 146).

(68) At its 77th session (July 1992: ACC/1992/23, paras. 32-39) CCAQ reviewed the report of the working group and considered the methodology should ensure that organizations remained competitive in the labour market of each duty station. It took a position on a number of matters on which the group had not reached agreement. ICSC decided to reaffirm the Flemming principle and revised the general methodology for surveys of best prevailing conditions at headquarters duty stations (A/47/30, para. 231-232). The General Assembly endorsed the Commission's reaffirmation of the Flemming principle (resolution 47/216 III).

(69) At the same session CCAQ took note of the Field Working Group's conclusion that UN and UNDP should develop a statement of the role of the designated agency for General Service salary surveys, hardship questionnaires, etc., of the division of responsibilities at the duty station level and of the appropriate mechanism for the determination of the designated agency. ICAO endorsed the proposal that the ICAO secretariat should act as a clearing house on information and decisions of the New York Steering Committee (ACC/1992/6, paras. 104-106).

(70) At its 78th session (March 1993: ACC/1993/6, paras. 93-103) CCAQ underlined the importance of the methodology for surveys of best prevailing conditions of employment at non-headquarters duty stations and recommended the Commission's concurrence with refinements developed through experience, emphasizing the importance of keeping in mind the non-headquarters environment in dealing with the retention of outside data in the case of single incumbents. It also requested the Commission to confirm the soundness of the methodology and its application. ICSC decided to review the methodology for non-headquarters duty stations every four years at the end of each round of surveys and approved detailed revisions in the methodology effective 1 July 1993 (ICSC/37/R.18, paras. 117-127). The revised methodology was issued as an addendum to its 37th session report (ICSC/37/R.18, para. 236).

(71) At the same session CCAQ agreed to maintain the percentage shares of contribution by organization established in 1988 for inter-agency salary survey activities carried out by UNDP (ACC/1993/6, paras. 132-134).

(72) At its 81st session (June 1994: ACC/1994/14, paras. 113-123) CCAQ reviewed notes by FICSA highlighting possible problems in the revised methodologies for surveys of best prevailing conditions of employment in headquarters and non-headquarters duty stations. CCAQ urged the ICSC secretariat to produce a manual of practice, training materials and other guidance for headquarters duty stations. As for the non-headquarters methodology CCAQ considered the problems concerned its application and should be dealt with through the local salary survey process. ICSC reaffirmed the unique characteristics of each headquarters duty station, instructed its secretariat to prepare comments on the issues raised and decided that a comprehensive review of the application of the headquarters methodology should be undertaken on completion of the current round of surveys (A/49/30, para. 208).

(73) At its 82nd session (April 1995: ACC/1995/5, paras. 102-105) CCAQ reviewed an analysis of the issues raised by FICSA and CCISUA on the methodology for headquarters salary surveys and decided to present its considerations to the Commission in writing. CCAQ also made a number of general points on the differing labour markets in the headquarters cities and the need for flexibility, as well as consistency, in applying the methodology and on the urgent need to complete the draft manual and provide training in the methodology. ICSC noted that its report on the consideration of the methodology would provide useful information for its comprehensive review of the salary survey methodology scheduled upon completion of the current survey round (ICSC/41/R.19, para. 326).

(74) At its 85th session (July 1996: ACC/1996/14, paras. 90-91) CCAQ confirmed to ICSC its willingness to participate in the proposed working groups for the 1997 review of the General Service salary survey methodologies at both headquarters and non-headquarters duty stations and underlined the need for close coordination between the two working groups in order that the convergences and differences between the headquarters and the non-headquarters methodologies could be clearly defined. ICSC agreed to the establishment of a working group to review both methodologies and nominated three members of the Commission to serve on the group in their personal capacity with three representatives of the organizations and two each from each staff body (A/51/30, paras. 210-211).

(75) At its 86th session (April 1997: ACC/1997/6, paras. 53-64) CCAQ reviewed the reports of the Working Group on General Service Salary Survey Methodologies in which CCAQ had actively participated. The Flemming Principle, the underlying foundation of both methodologies, had remained constant. Its intent was to reflect conditions of service for locally-recruited staff against the best prevailing conditions found in the local labour market. However, the labour markets themselves and the organizations' capacity to measure these markets had continually evolved. The Working Group had been guided by the interest of the General Assembly in ensuring representation of the public sector among comparator employers. CCAQ firmly believed that the credibility of UN salaries for locally recruited staff was enhanced by the inclusion of public sector employers among the comparators. Experience in both headquarters and non-headquarters surveys showed that it was both possible and highly desirable to include a cross-section of the public/non-profit sector of the labour market in the process and such employers were already retained, except in a few non-headquarters surveys. With some refinements, the Committee supported the recommendations of the Working Group to ICSC. ICSC took a number of detailed decisions on the methodologies and decided to implement the revised non-Headquarters methodology from 1 January 1998. The current methodology would continue to be applied for the next round of Headquarters surveys and the minimum/maximum salaries approach would be tested at the same time (A/52/30, paras. 130-131).

(76) At the same session, CCAQ reviewed the non-pensionable components of salary for the General Service and National Officer categories and confirmed that the main criteria for the determination of pensionability of net salary should be the regularity, recurrence and predictability of benefits and allowances paid in cash. It supported the proposal that a list of remuneration elements commonly paid in cash should be developed to further refine the determination. The Committee also supported reducing of the ceiling for the non-pensionable component from 25 to 20 percent of net salary for all locations and setting the threshold for its establishment at 10 per cent of total net remuneration (ACC/1997/6, paras. 65-69). ICSC decided on the main criteria for the determination of pensionability and the elements that should be considered pensionable, reduced the ceiling from 25 to 20 per cent, established the threshold at 10 per cent for both headquarters and non-headquarters duty stations and decided that transitional measures would apply as usual if gross pensionable salaries were found to be lower as a result of the changes in methodology (A/52/30, para. 139).

(77) At its 89th session (July 1998: ACC/1998/9, para. 44) CCAQ recommended to ICSC that it should defer consideration of whether to include a language factor in the salary methodology for conducting surveys of best prevailing conditions of employment at headquarters duty stations where the local language was not one of the working languages of the organizations until a decision had been reached by the UN and ILO Administrative Tribunals on cases raised by staff in Vienna. ICSC decided to await the judgments of the Tribunals in the Vienna case and to defer any decision on the review of the methodology regarding the language factor (A/53/30, para. 175).

(78) At its 90th session (April 1999: ACC/1999/5, para. 35) CCAQ noted that the revised CCAQ Manual for Salary Surveys in Non-Headquarters Duty Stations had been prepared by UNDP in collaboration with the responsible agencies in non-headquarters on salary matters, UN and WHO. As designated agencies, UNICEF and FAO had also provided assistance and comments on the Manual. The final draft before the Committee had incorporated all comments received. The Committee recognized that the Manual reflected practice and experience built up over many years in applying the methodology approved by ICSC and endorsed by the General Assembly. In this context, the Committee confirmed that to remain useful the Manual had to be a dynamic instrument that should continue to evolve in the light of experience and requested the responsible agencies to continue to exercise flexibility in the application of special measures.

(79) At its January 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/4, para. 20) the HR Network noted that a working group for the Review of the GS Salary Survey Methodologies had been scheduled to take place either in New York or Geneva during a week which coincided with other inter-agency HR activities and invited the ICSC secretariat to consider alternative dates. It agreed that the organizational representatives on the working group should include the UN, UNDP and WHO with IAEA (for the Headquarters methodology) and FAO (for the non headquarters methodology) and decided to request the ICSC to repeat previous practices whereby organizations with duty station specific concerns be invited as observers in the working group and provide information thereon when necessary.

(80) At its March 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/12, para. 12) the HR Network considered the report of the tripartite working group on the five-year review of the methodology for surveys at "headquarters duty stations." The main issues in the review were reluctance of some outside employers to participate, a code of confidentiality not to divulge survey-related data to outside sources, the need for a main and reserve list of employers to be surveyed, consistency in survey job descriptions across headquarters duty stations, a simplified questionnaire for data collection, use of electronic means for data collection, weight given in job matching to duties and responsibilities versus qualifications, treatment of changes in local taxes for interim adjustments and application of the methodology in full to other locally recruited categories (e.g. language teachers' category). The Network: (a) noted that the periodic fine-tuning of the methodology was necessary in order to align it with technological developments and evolutions in outside labour markets; (b) reiterated the importance it attached to upholding the Flemming Principle; (c) expressed appreciation for the constructive collaboration that characterized the group's work; and (d) thanked the representatives on the working group for their hard work and supported their positions as presented in the report of the working group. The Commission confirmed the Flemming Principle in its current formulation and interpretation as the basic principle of the General Service salary survey methodology and decided upon a number of specific methodological issues (ICSC/56/R.11, paras. 144-201).

(81) At the same session (CEB/2003/HLCM/12, para. 13) the HR Network considered the report of the tripartite working group on the five-year review of the methodology for surveys at "non-headquarters duty stations." The main issues of the review were differentiation of labour markets, definitions of economic sectors, representation of the public/non-profit sectors, alternative methods of data collection, effective date of salary scales, interim survey methodology, use of common weights, benchmark job descriptions and elimination of the restriction to single incumbent jobs in job matches. The Network concluded that: (a) the methodology, which was applied in over one hundred sixty duty stations with a wide range of economies, worked well but as with the headquarters' methodology periodic fine-tuning was necessary in order to align it with technological developments and the evolution of outside labour markets; (b) experience had been useful with the application of the criteria for the differentiation of labour markets, which had been introduced at the time of the last methodological review; (c) while some members agreed with its further refinement by expanding the number of surveyed employers in Category I duty stations to fifteen from twelve, others preferred to retain twelve because of concern that this could lead to problems in identifying enough survey employers and thereby compromising the surveys at these duty stations; and (d) there was appreciation for the effort and constructive spirit which had characterized the review and therefore generally supported the proposals. At the same time, the hope was expressed that every effort should be made to avoid the methodology from becoming overly complex. The Commission decided on a number of refinements to the methodology (ICSC/56/R.11, paras. 202-249).

(82) At its July 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/20, para. 10) the HR Network reiterated the importance it attached to upholding the Flemming Principle. and welcomed the spirit of constructive collaboration in which the ICSC's Tripartite Working Group had conducted the methodological review and the efforts made to make the survey process smoother, more dynamic and efficient. It expressed the hope that the refinements would make the methodology a more modern and effective tool to measure market conditions at various headquarters locations. The Commission decided to: (a) approve, with effect from 1 January 2004, the revised methodology for conducting surveys of the best prevailing conditions of employment at headquarters duty stations as presented by the secretariat; (b) adopt the confidentiality pledge letter, as amended; and (c) approve the schedule for the sixth round of headquarters' surveys (A/58/30, para. 279).

(83) At the same session (CEB/2003/HLCM/20, para. 11) the HR Network reiterated with regard to the non-headquarters methodology that it attached the utmost importance to ensuring that the salary survey process was fair and transparent. It supported in general the recommendations and hoped that the recommended changes would ensure that the methodology became more up-to-date, user-friendly and precise and would ensure that the conditions of service of General Service and other locally recruited staff were set at competitive levels. It underlined the importance of social dialogue in the data collection process. In this context, the Network supported the involvement of the LSCC in reaching decisions, in particular in respect of alternative data collection modalities when remote surveys were conducted.

(84) The Commission agreed with the proposal of its secretariat that changes relating to confidentiality and transparency of the exercise that it had approved for the headquarters methodology, including a written confidentiality pledge, would be equally applicable to the non-headquarters methodology since the survey processes under the two methodologies were broadly the same (A/58/30, para. 354). It decided to approve, with effect from 1 January 2004, the revised methodology for conducting surveys of the best prevailing conditions of employment at non-headquarters duty stations as presented by the secretariat subject to a number of modifications proposed by the staff representatives. Those modifications related, inter alia, to further clarifying the survey process and the responsibilities of the survey participants, including the role of the Headquarters Steering Committee and the LSSC, as well as to reflect some factual changes that had taken place since the last methodology review (ibid., para. 355). The General Assembly in resolution 58/251 III endorsed the decisions of the ICSC and the modifications of the methodologies.

(85) At the eleventh session of the HR Network (CEB/2006/HLCM/12), it was noted that UNDP was handing over the responsibilities for local salary surveys to the UN as of 1 July 2006. The HR Network expressed its appreciation of the handover arrangements; emphasised the importance of an accompanying communications strategy.

(86) At its twelfth session (CEB/2006/HLCM/17), in light of the preparations for the ICSC New York survey for the sixth round of salary surveys, the HR Network noted that the methodology was becoming increasingly challenging and requested that the Commission consider advancing the initiation of the review of the methodology from 2008 to 2007, encompassing not only headquarters methodology but also non-headquarters methodology. The Commission took decisions with regard to the General Service, Security Service, Trades and Crafts, Language Teachers, Public Information Assistants categories as well as decisions regarding all locally recruited staff in New York (ICSC/63/CRP.5). With regard to future New York surveys, the Commission decided to discontinue separate salary surveys for all locally recruited categories other than General Service and to apply the same percentage as that established for the General Service category to adjust the salaries of staff of other categories.

(87) At the same session, the Network recalled its earlier decision to establish a working group that would revisit the methodology for calculating the local salary survey cost sharing formula. FAO, WHO, WIPO, ILO, WFP, UNHCR and UNICEF agreed to participate in the working group, to be convened by the CEB secretariat in the fourth quarter of 2006.

(88) At the 15h session of the HR Network in March 2008 (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/17, paras. 12-13), the Commission recommended, based on the results of the salary survey, a new salary scale for the General Service and other locally recruited staff, which is 1.57 per cent lower than the current scale and revised rates for dependency allowance determined on the basis of tax abatements, legislative payments and the surveyed employer-specific payments.

(89) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para.12), the HR Network noted that the Working Group on the Review of the General Service survey methodologies would meet again in April 2009 to continue its work on the various options presented in its progress report; Expressed its concern regarding the timeframe for completion of the review. The survey cycle for Headquarters locations will end in 2009, therefore every possible effort should be made to finalize the review and have both methodologies implemented by January 2010 and reiterated its full commitment to be involved in the next steps to carry the work forward in order to accelerate the process by formal or informal means.

(90) At its nineteenth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/18, paras.98-100), the HR Network endorsed the proposal of the Local Salary Survey Committee to reduce the steps of the New Delhi GS Salary Scale.

(91) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.51-52), the HR Network expressed its disappointment in the lack of a report and wished to be kept informed of the progress on the review of the General Service headquarters and non-headquarters salary survey methodologies ,which was a the long standing issue.

(92) At its twenty first session (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/9, paras.18-19) the HR Network recognized that different duty stations had different concerns with the methodology and will bring this to the attention of the Commission as well as strongly believed and supported the Fleming principle.