Unions at the UN: what on earth is Ban-Ki Moon up to?
Last Thursday was United Nations Day, and the union campaign to win back negotiating rights at the UN continues. Already 14,000 people have signed up to a LabourStart e-campaign registering support for the UN unions, and now those unions are asking people to write direct to the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon at [email protected] to register their concerns about what the unilateral withdrawal of negotiating rights is doing to the reputation of the global body, the risks faced by staff, and the vacancy rates which are running at up to 20% – hardly the sign of a healthy organisation.
I reported last month on Ban-Ki Moon’s letter to the TUC saying that health and safety was, regardless of his refusal to negotiate on the issue with staff unions, a top priority. Now union reps have issued an update on the campaign which reports that they’ve learnt that Governments who gave Ban-Ki Moon authority to withdraw union rights may have been told that unions were using their negotiating rights to veto any change. They’ve made clear that this is untrue.
Union leaders say that the campaign is, nevertheless, having an effect:
“Your actions to-date are being felt by UN management. Already, the many trades unions that have written to Ban Ki-moon and the related press coverage has led to him proposing a working group to create new rules for staff-management relations. However, the terms of reference of that group still preclude reference to re-establishing the fundamental right to collective bargaining and so it is important that we continue to campaign for our rights.”