ILO staff protest halts board meeting

More than 500 staff at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have blocked the agency's governing board from meeting in a protest over job security.

This content was published on November 10, 2010 minutes and agencies

The governing board was forced to postpone Wednesday’s meeting in Geneva after staff formed a human chain around the ILO meeting room, preventing the 56 board members from entering.

Staff say many of the ILO’s 3,000 employees are on short-term contracts which limits their chances of renting apartments and restricts access to pensions and health care. Employees are due to vote on Tuesday whether to strike if a solution to the dispute is not found.

The dispute escalated when the ILO called on leaders of the Group of 20 countries meeting in Seoul to create millions of better jobs.

"We believe it is hypocritical that the ILO cannot apply inside its own walls the policies that it promotes to the G20, the International Monetary Fund and to governments, employers and workers the world over," said Chris Land-Kazlauskas, staff union committee head at the ILO.

The management of the agency said it was seeking a further year of talks with the union on a new hiring agreement. It made no further comment on the staff action or on union accusations.

Since its creation 90 years ago the ILO has shaped and supervised many global agreements on ensuring decent working conditions, on salary structures and freedom for labour unions.

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