UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Photo: Mario Tama
Good news for UN staff: a global union victory
Some good news this weekend: staff unions at the UN have won their campaign for recognition, and better terms than ever before for consultation and dispute resolution. And they couldn’t have done it without you.
Last year, I wrote about the disgraceful decision of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to derecognise unions across many UN bodies (except, of course, the ILO!) We helped the staff campaign to get their rights back. Frances O’Grady wrote to the Secretary General. We lobbied UK Ministers (not least because we suspected Foreign Secretary William Hague of having been a behind-the-scenes promoter of derecognition). And we helped the UN staff unions to link up with other trade union movements with slightly more progressive governments.
Fourteen thousand people signed that petition, and this week we heard from the worker representatives on the UN Staff-Management Committee that the campaign was successful. Ian Richards, the President of the Co-ordinating Committee of International Staff Unions and Associations wrote:
“We know that management only came back to the table because unions, organizations and working people around the world were united in their anger at the way the Secretary-General withdrew trade union recognition last June.”
Proof that unions can win back rights that have been taken away, and that global union pressure can achieve results. Keep backing union campaigns on the web – it may be just one small part of our solidarity toolbox, but it’s clearly an important part.