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Red Cross to cut almost 100 posts in Geneva

The ICRC flag Keystone / Martial Trezzini

The Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will cut 95 posts owing to financial pressures linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been confirmed.

This content was published on September 18, 2020 - 09:10
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The deficit is expected to be CHF130 million ($143 million) for 2020, the ICRC said on Friday. Cost cutting measures of CHF25 million are being planned. Jobs are at risk – the organisation employs more than 20,000 people worldwide. In total, there should be around 60 redundancies, taking into account retirements and other factors among the 95 posts concerned, the organisation said.

“The negatives effects of Covid are being felt, also on the financial side. The ICRC is not spared and today will take measures to reduce its management and operational costs,” the organisation informed swissinfo.ch in an emailed statement. “These decisions reflect the absolute necessity to change our priorities and optimize the costs.”

“Social responsibility” measures will be offered to those affected, the ICRC said. Resources will be reallocated between the most important areas and “those which have the least”.

The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the need for humanitarian aid, Swiss public television RTS reported on Monday, when the rumours of job cuts first surfaced. Meanwhile, traditional donors have faced budgetary pressures caused by the virus.

UN financial problems

Other international organisations are also struggling financially amid the pandemic. The UN Office in Geneva says it is facing an “extremely difficult financial situation”.

“An accumulation of non-payment of assessments by some member states, and late payments by others, has led to an acute shortage of liquidity which has forced the UN to place restrictions on the level and timing of funding being released throughout the organisation, as well as the implementation of a recruitment freeze,” it said.

German-language Swiss public radio, SRF, said on Wednesday that funding problems had led to a freeze on jobs at the UN in Geneva. Vacancies were not being filled and temporary contracts were being terminated, SRF said.

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