Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- Employees of the African Union (AU) have demanded that the new AU Chairperson should address outstanding demands for benefit and s ecurity, PANA reported from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The staff urged the new AU Chair, Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutharika, who wou ld be presiding over the 53-member continental organization for the next 12 mont h s, to make sure that they would be beneficiaries of attractive benefit packages.
The AU Staff Union has prepared a list of requests that it considered pressing a nd brought them to the Chairmanâ?s attention, seizing the opportunity during his first visit to the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.
With the entire staff at the Headquarters gathered at the Plenary -- the biggest hall which mostly hosts heads of state and senior officials of African countrie s where they discus continental issues -- Yala Elias, Chairman of the Staff Union , told Mutharika to push for the speedy finalization of the revision and amendmen t of the Staff Rules and Regulations.
Accordingly, the Union requested Mutharika to particularly see into the duration of contract periods, medical insurance and protection of staff.
According to AU staff regulations, employment duration on contract basis lasts f or a period of two years while the staffs want it to be indefinite.
They argue that the short contract period, which they said was an obsolete pract ice in other international organizations, de-motivated employees and left them f e eling uncertain about the years ahead.
They also wanted medical insurance to continue after retirement.
The current AU practice is that when an employee retires, the medical insurances ends.
Authored at the time the continental body was called the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Rules and Regulations document has not been amended for decade s , according to Elias.
Though there have been moves to revise the document, it has been pending for lon g time now, he said.
Responding, President Mutharika said that he had no mandate to directly push for the execution of the staff requests but to advocate for effecting them.
He, however, promised them that his term would be a period of recognition for th eir works.
â?I guarantee you that in the next 12 months there will be someone who apprecia tes your efforts and say thank you for your job,â? he told the gathering.