Amnesty International, the body which defends human rights around the world, faced protests from its own staff on Wednesday as they went on strike over a dispute about redundancies.
Members of Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, who work at Amnesty’s global headquarters in London, organised a 24-hour walkout over a planned restructuring programme that could lead to dozens of job losses.
Amnesty is proposing to redistribute more than 500 staff in London to 10 regional hubs around the world, which Amnesty said would put representatives closer to where human rights violations occur.
Unite official Alan Scott said dozens of staff face uncertainty with jobs expected to be lost before the end of the year, but because “management have torn up the redundancy policy, they have no idea of what will happen to them”, he said.
“While many appreciate cuts to staffing are inevitable, Amnesty management must stick to agreements they have signed and publicly stated they will honour in order to dispel the pervasive mistrust that has taken hold in the organisation,” he said.
An Amnesty spokesman said: “We very much regret that staff have taken the decision to take industrial action, while fully respecting their right to do so.”
Amnesty said only one-third of staff took part in the walkout. A spokesman said the planned changes would “enhance our capacity to address human rights violations”.
Amnesty’s British headquarters was previously hit by strikes in separate qualms over spending cuts and job losses. The organisation, which was founded in 1961, has offices in 80 countries.