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Amnesty UK staff to strike over cuts programme

Amnesty UK staff to strike over cuts programme
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Amnesty UK staff to strike over cuts programme3

Finance | Kirsty Weakley | 11 Sep 2012

Over one-third of Amnesty UK staff are expected to go on strike tomorrow in protest at cost-cutting measures they claim are “threatening the organisation’s future”.

The cost-cutting programme, which includes redundancies, has been implemented because of an increase in financial contribution from the UK section to its global organisation to expand its work in the global south.

According to the organisation’s website it has about 130 staff at offices in London, Belfast and Edinburgh. Up to 40 are expected to strike tomorrow.

A one-day strike was voted for by roughly 80 per cent of the UK charity’s members of the trade union, Unite. It is the first time that staff have decided to strike in more than 20 years and they will be picketing the London office.

A statement issued by the Amnesty International members of Unite said: “Amnesty International is a great organisation that does vital and important work. We strike with a heavy heart and after long negotiations because we have serious concerns that the financial cuts proposed by senior management are threatening the organisation’s future.

“We fully support Amnesty’s growth in the global south and the need to invest in growth, but it also makes no financial sense to make wide-ranging cuts to a thriving branch of the organisation.”

It adds that: “Our senior management is undermining our members’ hard work by acting in a way that will affect Amnesty’s ability to grow in the long term and campaign for human rights change.”
 
Amnesty International UK’s media director Mike Blakemore told civilsociety.co.uk that: “We entirely respect the right of staff to take industrial action but regret the fact that they felt the need to do so.”

He explained that the UK section’s contribution towards work in the global south "is something we cannot and would not want to change" because "the decision on how much national sections contribute, and how quickly, is taken by the independent international council of Amnesty International".

Blakemore added that the amount national sections contribute to international movement is increasing gradually from 30 per cent to 40 per cent over the next ten years, and that “we secured a slowing down of the change from over six years to over 10 years”.

 

Vicky
17 Sep 2012

If the UK staff are striking because their jobs are moving towards the global south, then I have no sympathy for them. Amnesty International is a 'global' human rights organisation and the fact that the majority of their staff is sitting in Clerkenwell doesn't really reflect its remit. I've been a member of AI for over 20 years now and I support moving jobs to developing nations where a lot of the human rights abuses take place. Unite, you can make all the fuss you want but lets not forget Amnesty's work is to defend human rights around the world, not to pay salaries in the UK.

Theresa Diamond
12 Sep 2012

The management of Amnesty UK are a disgrace! I am a supporter of Amnesty UK (I don't work for them) but I feel that they are totally out of synch with what their supporters feel. Is one of the management of Amnesty UK looking for a job on the International commmittee? - as I can't think of any other reason that the UK division would agree to give more to the international whilst laying off their dedicated staff in the UK.... I hope that other Amnesty supporters in the UK wiill support me in feeling that the UK management of Amnesty are appalling - and stop their support of Amnesty UK until the management stop what they are currently proposing!eylbert

Robert
14 Oct 2012
Response to [Theresa Diamond]

I agree with comment posted - and just hope that UK supporters realise what is going on with the board in the UK...ie the UK board are total waste of space (is one of them going for a position on the international side of things?)..... Why are they going all out for giving more than other countries to the international side otherwise........ They have workers in the UK that work way and beyond their remit and get treated like they are working for a US bank etc - shame on you Amnesty - what a way to treat dedicated staff! I will be withdrawing by payments to you - and will be urging others in the UK to do likewise! Sad to see Amnesty behaving like this - my money is now going elsewhere- I hope that others follow!

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