Staff have lost confidence in Oxfam GB management, says union

Unite has about 400 members at the charity, which plans to cut 200 jobs to save £16m

The union Unite has said staff have lost confidence in senior managers at Oxfam GB after the charity announced plans to cut 200 jobs as part of a money-saving restructure.

The charity, which employs slightly more than 2,000 people in the UK, said yesterday that it had begun talking to staff about the changes, which would save £16m a year and help it to fulfil its strategy over the next 10 years.

It said it hoped to avoid redundancies where possible.

But a statement from the union, which has about 400 members at the charity, said the coronavirus pandemic was the “last straw in a series of poor management decisions” and called for a voluntary redundancy programme to be put in place.

Jesika Parmar, regional officer at Unite, said: “Unfortunately, despite the ground-breaking work over 70 years that Oxfam has done, our members have lost confidence in senior management.

“The financial crisis caused by Covid-19 has been exacerbated by mismanagement over recent years.”

She said the charity had refused requests to open a voluntary redundancy register, to furlough all staff who were made redundant in the past few months or suspend the redundancy consultation during furlough.

“Oxfam should not be making redundancies while it can still use funding from the job-retention scheme to pay for 80 per cent of wages,” Parmar said.

“We want Oxfam to use natural wastage and voluntary redundancy because we believe this will be much less expensive and ensure that cover for all necessary areas continues.”

An Oxfam spokesman said the charity had decided that a voluntary redundancy scheme was not the best option.

“We have considered very carefully whether to offer voluntary redundancies, but have decided that it is not the best solution for our staff or Oxfam at this time,” he said.

“Wherever possible, we hope to find those at risk of losing their jobs alternative roles within the organisation, retaining skills and experience for the future.

“Voluntary redundancies would be likely to increase the cost of the change process resulting in the need for further cost savings and potential job losses to be made elsewhere.

“If staff at risk do not wish to seek an alternative role within Oxfam, they can request to disengage from the process and, if the request is accepted, they will leave with a redundancy payment.”

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