The renowned British union is commemorating five years of activism and achievements in its defence of workers’ rights. A celebration of these five years will take place on Saturday 2 February in London.
The group was founded in 2014 with the mission of supporting underpaid precarious workers, focussing especially on helping those with migrant status in the UK who work for agencies subcontracting them into cleaning, transport, retail and security jobs.
United Voices of the World the union has spearheaded various campaigns to benefit workers in the above sectors and one of the campaigns that made the most media impact concerned the London School of Economics (LSE).
As The Prisma reported in its series on the topic, at the end of 2016 there was a series of dismissals made by the subcontractor cleaning firm Noonan, which provided its services to LSE. One of the cases that made the most noise was about a female worker who was fired having just been promoted within the company.
On the heels of this unfair dismissal, the union organised strikes and demonstrations in support of the Noonan workers. In addition, the protests highlighted the abysmal gulf between the treatment of subcontracted staff and permanent employees, over issues such as sick pay, maternity leave and pension contributions.
Roughly 70 workers found themselves subjected to these working conditions at LSE. As a consequence of the demonstrations’ success, the employees were able to take their jobs back but with the same labour rights that the permanent staff enjoyed.
Other campaigns organised by UVW have targeted Harrods, Sotheby’s and Topshop. The organisation is currently planning a day of strikes and protests together with member unions of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and others. This time they will bring action to support security guards, receptionists and cleaners subcontracted to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
To celebrate these achievements and others, UVW is throwing a party for its fifth anniversary. Anyone who has participated in any way in UVW’s work and those who would like to get involved are welcome to attend. UVW 5 year anniversary party! will take place on 2 February, 5 pm. – 2 am. First Floor, Elizabeth House, 39 York Road, SE1 7NQ London, UK. More information: Facebook event, UVW and email@example.com
(Translated by Elizabeth Dann – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)