In an astonishing act of hypocrisy and just days before the terrorist attack on the UN facility in Mogadishu in June, United Nations staff represented by the CCISUA (theĀ federation representing staff associations and unions organised within the different sections of the United Nations, who are affiliated to the GFTU in the UK)Ā had theirĀ union rights unilaterally withdrawnĀ by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Unions across the world were shocked by the move. TUC General Secretary Frances OāGradyĀ wroteĀ directly to the UN Secretary General in New York, and to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague asking him to stand up for union rights for UN staff.
Frances O’Grady’s letter received the following appalling response from the UN.
In the last decade, 220 staff have been killed in attacks, on top of 102 who died in the Haiti earthquake three years ago.
Ahead of a 10th anniversary commemoration of the Baghdad bombing in which 22 UN staff died, Ian Richards, President of the UN staff union in Geneva, wrote atĀ Huffington Post:Ā āWe believe that union rights save UN lives. In order to help ensure the safety of colleagues who serve in the field, a credible negotiating framework between representatives of staff and management is essential. Without the ability to challenge decisions that may prove to be harmful to them, or even to speak up for themselves, our colleagues are helpless.ā
And as Frances O’Grady’s letter to the UN Secretary General points out, theĀ International Labour Organisation (ILO), Ā maintains thatĀ the rights to join a union and collectively bargain with employers are fundamental human rights.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow also made thisĀ point. SharanĀ is trying to negotiate with the UN Secretary General to get union rights restored.
The Campaign For Trade Union Freedom is now asking supporters to get involved.
You can take action to protest at this disgraceful decision, and demand that UN staff should have their collective bargaining rights restored, by backing an International Trade Union ConfederationĀ e-actionĀ and demanding that the United Nations honours ILO Conventions.