We are United Voices of the World

UVW is a members-led, campaigning trade union which supports and empowers the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly migrant workers in the UK.

We were founded in 2014, rapidly gaining media attention and popular support with a series of high-profile victories for workers serving Sotheby's, Harrods, and the London School of Economics (see Victories at the top of the page).

Where do our members work?

Overwhelmingly in London's ubiquitous outsourced industries, which include cleaning, portering, and security. We also represent workers across retail, hospitality, recycling, construction, NGOs, education, and trades such as carpentry, electrical and locksmithing. We also represent workers in the sex industry, predominantly strippers. The latest sector to join UVW is the legal sector which includes students, trainees, pupil barristers, personal assistants, legal administrative staff, paralegals, solicitors, and barristers as well as interns and volunteers.

What do we want?

We campaign for all members to receive at least the London Living Wage (£10.55 per hour as of Nov. 2018), contractual sick pay and other rights, dignified and safe conditions, and general respect.  We also challenge outsourcing itself, which creates two-tier workforces in order to slash wage bills and deny important rights.

We were the first union in the UK to beat outsourcing. At the London School of Economics, UVW members who clean the prestigious university and its campuses organised the largest cleaners strike in national history. This forced the LSE to terminate their £5million annual contract with Noonan in order to bring nearly 300 cleaners in-house, and give them the same contractual terms as the professors. Since then, other universities such as SOAS, King's and Goldsmiths have followed suit.

What do members receive?

Our members receive full protection from the moment they join.  Other benefits include:

  • A strong community of members ready to fight alongside you

  • Monthly meetings to discuss and vote on union matters

  • The right to decide when to strike without interference from UVW's committee.

  • Workplace representation

  • Weekly English classes for all levels

  • Employment law workshops

  • Trade union representation courses

  • Health and Safety workshops

  • Free 1-hour consultation with the law firm Truth Legal

  • Representation wherever possible in Employment Tribunals

  • Employment law advice

What does it cost to be a member?

It corresponds to your monthly gross income (total earnings before taxes):

  • £700 or less = £6 per month

  • £701 — £1,100 = £8 per month

  • £1,101 or more = £10 per month

If you require immediate assistance, a joining fee of £20 will be charged after your first meeting with a UVW rep.

How is this money spent? 

In addition to membership subs, a large portion of our funds are kindly donated by non-members.  After covering office bills and staff wages, most outgoings are on campaigns, strike funds, workshops, meetings, protest materials and digital services. UVW has an equal wage policy, which means that all staff are paid the London Living Wage+£1. All expenses are discussed and voted on in committee meetings. Click here to see out latest Annual Returns.

Want to get involved?

We are always looking for comrades to get involved in any capacity — if you have time for small or large creative projects, or can teach interesting/useful workshops, please get in touch!