Staff Strike Threat Has WTOs Abbott Rushing To HQs

New Delhi, November 26: | Updated: Nov 27 2002, 05:30am hrs
The organisation which is trying to bring different nations to a peaceful agreement over contentious trade issues is facing a crisis from within! The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is facing a strike from its 500-odd staff on the issue of salary.

The impending danger has forced visiting WTO deputy director-general Roderick Abbott to fly back to Switzerland on Tuesday night to avert the crisis.

The 550-member organisation may face a crisis on the salary issue, Mr Abbott told FE. The WTO staff is insisting for an upward revision of their salary and threatened to go on a strike if their demand is not met.

Mr Abbott, an expert on multilateral trade negotiations for over 40 years and a veteran in dispute settlement had to fly to his headquarters to resolve the current dispute in his office. He was in India to address one of the sessions of the India Economic Summit 2002, organised by the World Economic Forum and Confederation of Indian Industry in the Capital.

Mr Abbott said it is up to the member-countries to take note of the internal issue at the WTO.

The staff is losing confidence in the members. They are asking for a pay review. WTO is a relatively lean organisation compared to other global organisations, with 550 staff out of which 150 are on the short-term contract, he said, adding the immediate crisis is not very big in magnitude and is likely to be resolved soon.

WTO is getting funds from its member-states in different proportions depending on the economic conditions of the members. The current annual budget of the organisation is $100 million. The US provides 15 per cent of the total budget, 10 per cent comes from Germany and another 8 per cent is given by Japan. The rest comes from other members, he said. There are 143 members in WTO.