United Voices of the World is an independent grassroots union that represents workers in jobs where mainstream unions have often failed to get support. They are a lively union with bold ideas, prepared to use street protests, occupations, and other direct action techniques to bring employers to the negotiating table.
Over their three year history they have had some notable successes, getting better terms and conditions and much improved pay rates for cleaners, security staff, waiters, and other often migrant workers, and taking on some big names like Top Shop, Harrods, and Sothebys.
This film covers a rally held on 5th September outside the Ministry of Justice, with a march to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). These government departments are paying well below the London Living Wage (£10.20 per hour) to cleaners and security staff, through outsourcing the work to huge multi-national companies who exploit the workers for profit.
Last month, cleaners at the Ministry of Justice went on co-ordinated strike with workers at Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall. As a result, Kensington and Chelsea council have just agreed to bring their cleaners in-house and pay the London Living Wage (LLW). The fight at the Ministry of Justice continues, and security staff who are part of the larger PCS union are going to be joining, while other PCS staff at BEIS will also begin action.
The rally on the 5th was supported by several mainstream unions, as well as Labour MPs.Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised an end to outsourcing and the introduction of the London Living Wage from “day one’ of an elected Labour government, and Richard Burgon, (who will take over as the head at the Justice Ministry if Labour are elected), promised to meet cleaners on his first day in office, bring them in-house and pay the LLW.
If you’re in underpaid precarious work, check out this little union at uvwunion.org.uk, and if you have any spare cash, consider donating to their strike fund to support strikers who lose their already low incomes to fight for better conditions.