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Meet United Voices of the World

Other | Monday 17th September 2018 | Osh

United Voices of the World is an independent grassroots union that represents workers in jobs where mainstream unions have often failed to garner support. They are a lively union with bold ideas, prepared to use street protests, occupations, and other direct, non-violent action techniques to bring employers to the negotiating table. 

Over their three year history, United Voices of the World have had some notable successes, earning better terms, conditions and much improved pay rates for low wage earners like cleaners, security staff, waiters, and often migrant workers, taking on some big names on the way like Top Shop, Harrods, and Sothebys. 

The film below 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 by outsourcing the work to huge multi-national companies who exploit the workers for profit. 

The rally on the 5th was supported by several mainstream unions, as well as Labour MPs. The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, promised an end to outsourcing and the introduction of the London Living Wage (LLW) 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. 

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 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. 

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 fight for better conditions and support strikers whose already low incomes are under threat. 

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