March 9, 2006

UN staff vote no confidence in Annan management

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Staff Union voted
overwhelmingly on Thursday to express no confidence in U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his top managers after Annan
announced plans to overhaul the U.N. bureaucracy.

A motion "to express a statement of no confidence in the
secretary-general and his senior management team" was opposed
by just two of the more than 500 U.N. employees attending a
closed-door emergency meeting of the staff group, said Staff
Union official Guy Candusso.

Annan two days earlier had introduced a 33-page report on
U.N. management reform that proposed outsourcing some U.N. work
or moving staff out of the United States for some translation
services, document production, printing and publishing and
information technology.

He also recommended more financial oversight, simplified
hiring and firing procedures, staff buyouts, more training and
a modern information system.

The costs of the plan could run to $500 million. Approval
rests in the hands of the 191 U.N. member-nations.

Annan argued existing rules and regulations "make it very
hard for the organization to conduct its work efficiently or
effectively" and said a "radical overhaul" was needed.

But staff members said they feared he would slash payrolls
and programs in order to cut down on costs.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, whose government has pushed
hard for extensive reforms at the United Nations, declined
comment on the staff vote but said all organizations needed to
regularly review their activities to see which were better
performed internally and which could be outsourced.