UNITED NATIONS - For the first time in the U.N.'s history, the staff union yesterday issued "a statement of no-confidence in the secretary general and his senior management team."
The no-confidence vote was in response to a plan presented Tuesday by Secretary-General Annan to reform the way Turtle Bay is managed. Concerned about loss of jobs to outsourcing, over 500 staffers voted in favor of the resolution yesterday, with only nine abstentions and two opposed, according to union officials present in the closed-door meeting.
The resolution expressed "solidarity" with staffers "targeted in the current report, understanding that, in the future, all staff may be at risk." The union's president, Rosemarie Waters, was asked to transmit the vote results to the General Assembly, where Mr. Annan's plan has yet to be approved. The union boasts more than 10,000 U.N. employees in New York and in peacekeeping missions around the world.
"We understand that this can be an unsettling time for staffers," Mr. Annan's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told the New York Sun yesterday. He urged staffers, however, to "fully study" the proposal, and added, "We are looking forward to continuing the dialogue with the staff union."
America's U.N. ambassador, John Bolton, who has urged the U.N. to streamline its operation, said that while has yet to study the proposal in depth, "any effectively managed organization always has to consider questions of what it does in-house and what it contracts out." The best way to achieve that, he added, is "through a periodic review of what can be done internally most efficiently."