Members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, employed by Amnesty International secretariat have pledged to consider ‘all options’ after the human rights charity announced today (Tuesday 4 June) that 93 workers face losing their jobs.

In total Amnesty is proposing cutting 146 posts, however this includes many which are vacant. Amnesty has a total of 743 positions and it currently has 670 employees.

Amnesty overspending

Unite believes that the redundancies are a direct result of overspending by the organisation’s senior leadership team and that its problems have occurred despite an increase in income.

Amnesty has been dogged with controversy in recent years as a result of the former secretary general Salil Shetty and its international board, allowing the organisation to fall into financial disarray and creating a ‘toxic workplace’.

Independent report

An independent report by the KonTerra Group which was commissioned following the tragic suicides last year of two Amnesty International staff members, Gaetan Mootoo and Rosalind McGregor, found that 39 per cent of staff reported that they had developed mental and/or physical health issues as a direct result of working at Amnesty.

As a result of Amnesty’s problems all seven members of Amnesty’s senior leadership team offered their resignations, five of whom will leave on redundancy terms by the end of this year, however there will be no investigation into their part in creating the crises facing the organisation.

The redundancies were announced following a leadership review conducted by Deloitte UK. Since the Deloitte report was published Unite has raised serious concerns around the process, mandate and accuracy of the report.

All options on the table

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Alan Scott said: “Unite members will meet this week to decide how to respond to the devastating announcement of redundancies.

“All options are firmly on the table.

“The organisation’s senior management has a made a dangerous habit of irresponsible overspending and over-scoping, leaving staff to suffer the costs, first with their wellbeing and now with their jobs.

“The problems of wellbeing and the financial crisis are symptoms of a leadership that continuously made decisions that it could not afford, in terms of budget, workload and responsibility of care.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.