Here she reflects on her time at the union and urges members to keep on fighting, “whether it be as part of a campaign, or an individual employee issue – don’t give up! You are in the right place and have the right support so keep pushing until you are able to assert your rights.”
As some of you may know, I am leaving the University on Wednesday (31 July) and therefore handing over my position as Assistant Branch Secretary to Mark Murphy, who was elected to share the role with me at the AGM.
I would have liked to have attended the branch meeting next Wednesday but, as it falls on my last day, I will likely be crying in a corner somewhere and not fit to take part! I therefore wanted to send a little farewell message to you all instead.
I joined the IWGB back in 2014, after being simultaneously inspired by Danny and Catherine and exasperated by UCU during the London Weighting campaign. I had always believed in the power of trade unions, and in fact joined UCU not long after I started working at the University, but felt completely let down by them on this issue. I saw the IWGB as the epitome of what a trade union should be and, five years on, this belief has not wavered.
I gradually became more involved in the union over time, first as Communications Officer, then during the dreaded ICE negotiations (which myself and Mark would rather forget!), and finally as Assistant Branch Secretary. Over this time, I am sad to say that I have seen more and more reasons why the IWGB is needed here, and in a growing number of sectors across the country.
We are waging a battle on many fronts: against scrupulous gig economy employers who refuse to accept their responsibilities; against a culture of outsourcing which creates a two-tier workforce; against management who seek to portray this union as radical and self-interested, and against the public perception that unions are disruptive and unnecessary. But, despite all of this, I continue to be inspired by those members who helped found the union – our (hopefully not much longer!) outsourced colleagues here at the University. Their dedication to the cause and their unwillingness to give in until they are brought in-house and made equal members of staff is truly inspiring, and should serve as an example to us all and remind us that, with perseverance, good will eventually triumph.
It has been such a pleasure to serve as Assistant Secretary and become more involved in all of the brilliant work this branch does. So many of our members are true believers in what the IWGB stands for and our branch meetings are a reminder, amidst all of the craziness in this world, that there are lots of people out there who want to fight the good fight, no matter how difficult it is. I will of course continue to support the union going forward and will keep a close eye on all of the campaigns. To all of our members who are currently fighting something, whether it be as part of a campaign, or an individual employee issue – don’t give up! You are in the right place and have the right support so keep pushing until you are able to assert your rights!
I will miss you all!
Hasta la victoria!