The United Nations was paralysed last week (15 December) when hundreds of key secretariat staff walked off the job in a protest over working conditions.
The United Nations was paralysed last week (15 December) when hundreds of key secretariat staff walked off the job in a protest over working conditions. The stoppage affected employees in the United Nations' Department of Conference Services.
SYNOPSIS: The 150-nation assembly is dependent on the secretariat staff, and the walkout halted activity. The staff protesting over conditions included typists, translators and document officers, and they were supported by many interpreters who left their booths overlooking the General Assembly. An emergency meeting of staff was called to discuss their demands. The delegates were dismissed by the officer in charge of General Assembly affairs, Mr William Baffum.
The delegates left while members of the secretariat considered their grievances. They included a call for more consultation between staff and management, and their wish for a promotion review board. A spokesman reviewed progress.
The Assembly session that was cancelled concerned disarmament issues. After the discussions among members of the five thousand member secretariat, normal services were restored. The General Assembly resumed its plenary session in the afternoon.