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UN staff to go on strike over pay cut

United Nations and other agencies staff demonstrate against a planned 7,5 % salary cut at the U.N. in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

United Nations staff in Geneva have called a strike for Friday after winning support from 90 per cent of more than 1,000 employees who cast ballots, the staff council said.

“The rare move will shut down the Human Rights Council and other meetings held at the UN European headquarters in the Swiss city,” it said on Thursday.

Angry UN staff in Geneva began protesting in May against a 7.5 per cent cut to their salaries, the equivalent of almost a month’s pay, which has now taken effect for professional level staff.

The salary cut was proposed by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), a group of independent experts, which surveyed the cost of living in eight UN locations.

It said the cut for Geneva-based staff would align them with colleagues in New York, where purchasing power has dropped.

“The first day of strike is Friday.

“Please, therefore, stay at home, no demonstration was planned and work was to resume on Monday.

“The results of the vote are hugely positive and show your courage in saying a big NO to efforts by the ICSC and our employer to weaken our conditions of service, in an arbitrary manner.

“You also said NO to intimidatory emails from management,” the staff council said.

UN officials said that some events including the main news briefing were being maintained but had no other details.

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