Two years ago, the University of London’s branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) had less than 300 members. Now that figure has swollen to nearly 500.
It has helped fightback against the planned changes to USS pensions, won backdated increases in the London Living Wage for members, won the support of students whose fees run the university, and seen its campaign to bring outsourced workers back into the fold at the University of London (UoL) continue apace.
These major achievements were celebrated at the annual branch meeting on 28 April, by a capacity crowd which packed the lecture theatre at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London’s Bloomsbury.
The AGM reflected the international make-up of the union at the most basic level. Conducted in English and Spanish (Spanish and English lessons are offered free of charge to all members), it demonstrated the power of unity and cohesion among its members. They include security guards, cleaners, porters, academics and academic related staff, librarians and administrators.
And it underlined the importance of establishing the strength and basic dignity of some of the most exploited union members in the capital. The people who clean up after the very executives who want to outsource them and undermine their rights. Members also include an increasing number of in-house staff who believe in fairness and inclusion at work
Speaker after speaker highlighted the ongoing campaign for basic employment rights: sickness and holiday entitlements, pensions, and most important, a future to map out with their families.
It was celebration of a highly democratic organisation that is doing something new, demanding national institutions do the same. At least an hour’s worth of ballots resulted in a refreshed line-up of officers and representatives. The new officers are as follows:
List of officers
- Assistant Secretary – Rebecca Dooley
- Vice Chair – Abdul Bakhsh
- Treasurer – Lindsey Caffin
- Second Treasurer – Alison Hunter
- Trustees – George Orton, Frankie Cunha
- Recruitment Officer – Liliana Chavez
- Education Officer – Jamie Woodcock
- Communications Officer – Maureen McTaggart
- Campaigns Officer – Alex Gonzaga
- Branch Secretary – Danny Millum
- Branch Chair – Anibal Yepez
Delegates to the National IWGB AGM
- Catalina Punguil
- Joe Abdulahi
- Joe Trapido
- Margarita Cunalata
- Abdul Bakhsh
- Rebecca Dooley
- Rosalba Garcia
- Maritza Castillo Calle
- Jamie Woodcock
- Amparo Lema
- Amy Todd