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‘Toxic’ work culture

New report reveals ‘toxic’ culture at Amnesty International
Barckley Sumner, Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Unite has called for a radical change in the existing senior leadership at Amnesty International following a new report into the health and wellbeing of the workforce.


The report by the KonTerra Group, published last week, was commissioned following the suicides last year of staff members Gaetan Mootoo and Rosalind McGregor.


The report found that “39 per cent of Amnesty International staff reported that they developed mental or physical health issues as the direct result of working at Amnesty”. The report concluded, “organisational culture and management failures are the root cause of most staff wellbeing issues.”


A statement by the Unite branch at Amnesty International has given its full support for the new secretary general Kumi Naidoo and “welcome the initiatives already put in place” and “his emphasis on changing the culture of the organisation.”


However, the Unite branch has no confidence in the rest of the senior leadership team which was in place prior to the two tragedies. The branch states, “It is unfeasible to imagine that given the findings in these reports, the senior leadership team can be considered as part of the solution.”


Moving forward the branch has called for Unite to be central to improving the working culture at the organisation. “The union has always been committed to changing the working culture of Amnesty in a constructive and co-operative manner and looks forward to working on this with the new secretary general,” the branch noted.


Unite regional co-ordinating officer Alan Scott said, “This report is a damning indictment of the toxic and dysfunctional working culture at Amnesty.


“It is absolutely intolerable that workers at Amnesty experience bullying, targeting and power misuse and the previous leadership team must take full responsibility for these failures.


“It is imperative that the findings of this report are not ignored and Amnesty now works closely with Unite to end the appalling working culture that currently exists.”

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