Job losses at Amnesty International UK halted - for now

Job losses at Amnesty International UK halted - for now

15 January 2013

Unite’s efforts to protect the vital campaign work at Amnesty International UK (AIUK) and stop redundancies have been supported by the overwhelming majority of AIUK members.

At an emergency general meeting at the weekend AIUK members voted by more than the required 75 per cent against any ‘material reorganisation’ of AIUK.

Later, the management said it was not taking any action to implement the new structure, issue ‘at risk’ notices or accept voluntary redundancy requests for the time being.

Unite regional officer Alan Scott said: “We welcome the management’s statement on jobs – however, we call on the management to enter into meaningful negotiations, given the strength of feeling of their grass-roots AI supporters, including the 500 plus that attended.

“The EGM voting rules needing 75 per cent is a requirement of company law, not a normal democratic process as we know it, when 50 per cent plus one, is enough.

“This is a moral victory for all who opposed the management’s position and we think the board should be considering their position in view of the strength of feeling of the Amnesty membership. Unite will continue to fight hard to maintain the jobs, role and the 52-year-old ethos of AIUK.” 

The crucial resolutions that would have stopped the management giving an immediate increased contribution to Amnesty International’s global headquarters - one of the key issues that AIUK staff took strike action about at the end of last year - were not carried, although they achieved between 71 and 74 per cent of the vote. 

However, the successful resolution mandating AI not to undertake any material organisation means that this must be decided by an AGM where a simple democratic majority will be the basis for decision-making.

Unite has about 145 members at AIUK where some 40 jobs have been under threat due the management’s insistence that there was no possibility of negotiating a slower timescale for an increased contribution to the global AI body.

This would be funded by £2.5 million of cuts, despite the UK section's steady annual growth of two per cent and assurances that the organisation is not in financial crisis. 

The AIUK dispute is separate from the one affecting the Amnesty International secretariat which wants to restructure its London operations to 10 ‘hubs’ around the world, with resulting job losses.


For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.