As many of you will know, for some time we’ve been working towards setting up the IWGB Legal Department – essentially a fully-functioning casework team, able to handle the huge volume of cases that come to us each week.
This department will also help members from other branches in the union, and will initially be based at the UoL office on Lamb’s Conduit Street (although we hope to move it if funding can be secured). In fact, we’re already running a proto-legal department right now, with around 15 volunteer caseworkers, several translation and general volunteers, plus Jason overseeing. Again, this situation isn’t sustainable and means our ability to take on new campaigns and cases is severely limited!
We’ve successfully applied for grant funding to employ a Coordinator for the department, who will oversee all the casework and manage the volunteer caseworkers. It’s a huge job, and will require a special person with a variety of skills – for which we have to pay a fair wage. This is the first time we’ve really employed someone and marks a huge step for our union, so we want to do it right!
The crux of the issue is that, although we did get some grant funding, it was significantly less than we need. We therefore need to raise another £10K per year to make this work. That’s where the change comes in!
At the moment all IWGB branches keep 75% of the subscription fees that members pay, and only 25% devolves to the central union. This is significantly more than any other union branches keep – Senate House UCU, for example, only receives 20p per month from each member! The rest of the £20 or so that the majority of their members pay goes to the national body.
At this week’s meeting we will propose to reduce our branch’s share to 50%. This will still leave the branch with enough money to function, but will raise (in conjunction with similar contributions from all the other branches) enough money to ensure that we can pay the Coordinator’s salary for the next two years.
As you know, IWGB is run by its members, so it’s not possible to make important changes like this without your approval! However, our branch will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the department, without which IWGB cannot increase its influence in the UK. With the recent change of government, it’s no exaggeration to say that IWGB will be needed more than ever.
Please give it some thought, and come and vote on Friday! If you can’t attend the above-mentioned meeting, the rest of the times are listed here.