The UK today feels like a pretty dismal place. The moral compass seems to have gone missing from our politics. We are facing some tough years ahead, and it’s important to take some time to be sad, to reflect, and look after yourself and your loved ones. We need comfort. But there is hope!
If you are reading this, and if you are part of IWGB, you are part of the solution. We already know that by joining together we can overcome incredible odds. That should give us all some hope today. And we will keep fighting, whatever they throw at us.
After the mourning is over, we need to regroup. It’s time to pick ourselves up, shake ourselves down and get back to it. If ever a grassroots union was needed, it’s now.
Things are obviously going to be tough for a good while, but believe: we can do this!
In October, IWGB members launched a legal challenge against the Government over Boris Johnson’s threat to disobey the law. One rule for him, and another for us. They wouldn’t stand for that, and fought back. Tory Brexit will damage the lives of precarious workers, and in fact all workers in the UK. IWGB has campaigned tirelessly against it.
We’re in a very different place now: hard Brexit or ‘no deal’ is a certainty. That’s a terrible prospect for us all. It’s easy to feel powerless. But you can help.
Three precarious workers — Maritza, Wilson and Alex — teamed up with the IWGB and chose to fight back against Johnson’s disregard for the law. In the face of repeated statements by Johnson that he would not extend the Brexit deadline beyond 31 October, they filed a claim with the High Court to force the government to abide by the law and seek an extension. A few days later, Johnson went back on his commitment and agreed with the European Union to move the deadline to 31 January. After which, the workers withdrew their claim.
Now, government lawyers are arguing that because the claim was withdrawn, the claimants are liable to cover the government’s legal costs of at least £8,000.
Bojo and friends could sneeze that money out in a second. But to these workers, it’s a life-altering debt. We have just launched our crowdfunder to raise money for these three low-wage members who are being vindictively pursued for legal costs by Boris Johnson.
If you have something to donate, please do now! Early donations help build momentum and create a snowball effect.
IWGB is delighted to invite members to a FREE screening of the inspirational documentary Knock Down The House on 11th December 2019. If you’ve finished your own canvassing by then, why not go and see how it’s done across the pond!
Knock Down The House is an inspiring and highly watchable documentary film about four exceptional women mounting grassroots campaigns against powerful incumbents. Looking behind the scenes of the 2018 midterm elections in the USA that tipped the balance of power, it is a story of conviction and politicians who are motivated by their own personal circumstances to raise their voices and take a stand.
The film will be followed by a discussion with non-partisan local and national campaigners and activists.
Join the discussion to find out what the UK can learn from US grassroots campaigns, what it takes to #KnockDownBarriers in British politics, to make it more representative and ways to get involved. Now more than ever we need people with powerful stories to step up into politics!
The newly-elected Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Representatives at the University of London met with senior figures from HR on Tuesday, for the first time in their new two-year term.
IWGB occupies 15 of the 16 current seats on the forum, and welcomes several new members this year alongside many returning faces. Thanks to all reps for taking on this challenge!
The ICE forum is now entering its third year, having been set up by the University in response to pressure and legal action by IWGB to create a forum through which we can directly raise staff concerns and be properly informed and consulted. The University still refuses to ‘recognise’ IWGB, which is by far the largest union on campus.
Having failed to negotiate an agreement about what the forum should cover, the University is bound to follow the ICE Regulations (2004). However, following a challenging first two years in which there were more extraordinary meetings than ordinary ones (!), IWGB reps were happy to agree to discuss how best to run the forum on an administrative basis. The first meeting was therefore an informal discussion on this topic alone, at which IWGB Reps put forward the proposals below. This was well-received by the forum Chair and by HR – but we have yet to see how much of it will be implemented!
IWGB ICE Reps have requested an ordinary meeting before the end of term (or at least early in January 2020) in order to raise a number of staff issues that have not been dealt with since the last ordinary meeting in August 2019.
As always, if you have any issues or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local rep (see list below!).
We have written to all members this week, quoting celebrity fans such as Madonna, Danny Millum and Loyd Grossman (of pasta sauce fame), to inform them of developments in our ongoing campaign to achieve equality and fair pay at the central University of London.
Read the email below!
Holiday! Celebrate! It will be so nice!
You may already have heard from friends and colleagues that there has been a big victory on holiday for grades 1–6 – it has now been equalised with grades 7+, to 30 days!
That’s fantastic news, and is due in large part (rough estimate: 99.9%) to work done by IWGB! We have been campaigning for holiday equality for many years and for a LW increase since 2014.
We’re (still) waiting for decent London Weighting…
On the issue of London Weighting (LW), which affects all grades, you may also have seen that the two recognised unions are balloting their members on whether or not to accept the University’s latest ‘final’ offer: an insulting one-off payment of £275, to close the issue forever. We discussed this in the branch meeting and as a result, if you are dual-carding with either of these unions, we urge you to vote NO to acceptance, as we believe they can do better!
(Not everyone can make it to the branch meeting, so please do let us know if you have a different view – thoughts welcome. J)
As Loyd Grossman would say on Through the management keyhole, let’s look at the evidence:
Original demand made in 2014:
An immediate increase of £1,866 per year, to bring annual LW up to what it should have been at that time (£4,000), had it kept up with inflation. (See also our original info about this (attached), if you haven’t been around for the whole story!)
Current offer, prompted by IWGB agitation and apparently acceptable to the recognised unions:
A one-time-only offer of £275, not affecting the annual LW at all. So it’s still £500 less than it should have been four years ago.
Obviously this doesn’t account for increases in cost of living which have occurred since 2014, which is precisely what LW is supposed to counterbalance. And to state the obvious, it’s almost 2020 now!
The LW offer may be derisory, but it wouldn’t have happened at all without IWGB pressure. And the holidays are an outright win! It was an IWGB member who pointed out last year that the LW negotiations could be reopened at UoL if the London Living Wage went above a certain threshold, which it now has. And it was our indefatigable Assistant Branch Secretary Mark Murphy who, with the help of many other wonderful IWGB members, circulated a petition for increased holiday for grades 1–6, which went around the entire University. We’ve sent this to management, repeatedly raised the issues of LW and holiday parity in the ICE forum, and written to the University about it numerous times. This is what we can achieve when we work together. Great work everyone!
As you can see from the attached email, [included below in PDF] the usual suspects are claiming the credit for this. However, we know that IWGB members did the hard graft! This means that University management are effectively negotiating with IWGB by proxy. So let’s vote NO to the LW offer, and let’s keep up the campaign!
UoL IWGB Branch is proud to welcome two members to the role of Women’s Officer: Hosne Ara and Ruqayya Al-Faisal, who work for the University at Student Central.
Hosne and Ruqayya were unanimously elected at the branch meeting of December 2019, and will jointly hold the position alongside their other joint position as BAME officers – bringing a much-needed intersectional approach to the many challenges that women and BAME people face in the workplace.
Please do contact them at the email address below if you have any issues related to these areas, or just to say hello!
A message from the Women’s Officers
My name is Hosne Ara, and I am truly honoured to be elected as joint women’s officer for IWGB UOL Branch. I am grateful to all of you for believing in me that I can take on that role!
My aim is to create a sustainable, intersectional feminist force by being a voice for all women workers regardless of race, culture, religion, sexuality and ability. We need to work together to create a bridge amongst women of different backgrounds and cultures towards the liberation of self-identified women.
I aim to support women workers, especially those who need help. I believe I can make a positive impact by ensuring that all women workersreach their potential in the work environment and feel safe and valued at work. Thank you,
Thank you guys for electing me as joint women’s officer with Hosne Ara. In a male-dominated environment it is very important as a woman to stand up for your rights, ensure your voice is heard and to make it known that you’re just as capable as any other individual, and that being treated any less is not acceptable.
Again, thank you for trusting me to be vocal for those that don’t have the courage to speak out.
Members of the IWGB will be walking the Thames Path this Saturday, 19th October, to raise money for the IWGB’s legal department and its crucial work. You can sponsor your footsore and thirsty colleagues here: