September 29, 2022

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The United Nations seeks ‘Trainee retirees’ – will not pay them – E24

Shameless, says the Association of Retired Persons. In a legal border area, says the Seniors Policy Center. Desire of pensioners, says the Director-General of the United Nations Global Compact.

Kim Gabrielli, director of the UN Global Compact in Norway, believes that the retirees’ jobs they advertise are volunteer work, and that retirees are asking for them.
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UN Global Compact Norway, the UN organization for sustainable business in Norway, currently has 15 salaried employees. Now they want two retirees for unpaid coaching jobs.

The UN Global Compact has 400 members in Norway, including large companies such as Yara, Hydro, Equinor and Telenor.

Interns will work with strategy and communication. Tasks include preparing strategy and planning documents, and dialogue with members and business partners. For the position, it is preferable for the organization to like someone with experience in strategic management, preferably with experience from international work.

The working hours are flexible and therefore not paid at all.

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This leads to a reaction from both the Association of Retired Persons and the Center for Senior Policy.

That this kind of organization, which is supposed to help create a better society, is doing this, I think is impolite. Many retirees want to work voluntarily, but in normal working life people should be getting regular wages, says Union of Pensioners Union leader Jan Davidsen.

– You must pay

“The UN Global Compact in Norway wants to be inclusive in terms of age, backgrounds and different perspectives. We currently have a young and dynamic team and we want to attract more experienced contributors,” the organization writes in the job posting.

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Carrie Ostrode, director of the Senior Policy Center, thinks the ad is reminiscent of a case where fashion company Holzweiler had unpaid interns, and they had to pay in arrears. She wonders if these situations are legal.

Center for Aging Policy Director Carrie Osterod believes that the differential treatment of interns and retirees is a sign of age discrimination.

People should be paid for the work they do, regardless of age. The salary should be based on competence and effort, Osterod says.

I think the situations are different for the trainee students

Director Kim Gabrielli of the United Nations Global Compact in Norway believes that jobs are in demand by retirees who want to work voluntarily and have an academic background.

We call it retired trainees, but it can also be called volunteer work. The basis, Gabrielli says, is jobs without a formal contract.

He points out that the trainee students get paid. Some also earn credits by working with them. Gabrielli believes that it is inappropriate not to pay money to students, who are in the process of building their career and have no other income. When it comes to retirees, it’s different because they have income in the form of a pension. Gabrieli realizes that retirees want to voluntarily join the organization.

Retirees often have better financial resources than students.

– Surely you can still pay the pensioners who work for you?

This is a voluntary offer, you don’t have to apply if you don’t want to. These people do not count on gaining experience. I think this is an opportunity for pensioners who don’t have another offer, Gabrielli says.

Carrie Osterod believes that retirees have better finances is a weak argument.

– It’s the same thing that was said during the restructuring of the industry in the seventies and a lot of people were laid off. Then the married women were separated first, because they were “already supported”. She says that using the work for free, because someone has a pension, is at its most rude.

Osterod believes that the income an employee once earned is not something an employer should worry about.

– There are rich guys who have 20 million kronor in their account as well. Salary should be determined on the basis of competence and experience, not on the basis of external factors such as age, gender or place of residence.

– The United Nations global agreement indicates that the work is voluntary?

– I have nothing against retirees who work voluntarily. But you shouldn’t be paid because you’re older and have a pension, it sounds like age discrimination.

Few applicants

Jan Davidsen of the Association of Retired Persons is hopeful the organization will get back on track.

I hope they will think that they will get the same or better result if they offer a salary, when the ambition is to create a more comprehensive working life.

Gabrielli says at the UN Global Compact in Norway that they received positive feedback on the job announcement, particularly from retirees.

However, few of them applied.

Could it be because of the unpaid jobs?

– We have no way of knowing that. We will have to find out.

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