‘YOU’RE over-paid and bone idle’, were the words used by Dr Joan Clos, head of the UN’s Human Settlement programme, in relation to his Kenyan staff at the headquarters in Nairobi.
Spain’s former minister of industry and tourism and ex-mayor of Barcelona is facing an internal enquiry after a letter of complaint was sent directly to Ban Ki Moon, the secretary general of the United Nations.
Dr Clos allegedly called his staff, over-paid, underworked and good for nothing, other than writing out pointless lists. He is now standing accused of harassment, discrimination, and abusing of an officer.
One of the UN’s main headquarters is based in Nairobi where local staff are paid very well compared to local standards. Typical salaries can be 700 times higher than the average Kenyan’s wage, a tax-free salary of around $80,000 (€72,500). Workers also receive bonuses such as free housing, school fees and the use of a huge 140 acre site which includes a sport field, sauna and a duty-free wine shop.
The complaint referred to Dr Clos as a racist and being: ‘uncomfortable with people of colour’. Whereas senior UN sources have defended Dr Clos by saying the complaint against Dr Clos has been made up by an ‘entrenched elite’ desperate to protect their salaries and perks.
UN spokesperson Gordon Weiss commented: ‘Dr Clos has a long and very public human rights record, including tackling racism.’