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Candidate statement: Petros Elia

Meet the candidates for General Secretary

Petros Elia

Languages:English, Spanish
Sector: Other
Workplace: UVW
Occupation: Organiser
Length of UVW Membership: 7 years – co-founder

I am standing to be UVW’s General Secretary because I know what it takes to win, and to win big. That’s why UVW’s founding members, renowned campaign leaders – many of whom are black, brown and migrant women – and Voces Hispanas Unidas coordinators – UVW’s group for Spanish and Portuguese speaking members who comprise nearly half of UVW’s total membership, as well as members of other UVW sectors, support my candidature.

I co-founded UVW in 2013 with a small group of Latin American cleaners. Our mission was to create a union focused on building solidarity, community and campaigns amongst low paid, precarious and migrant workers. Together we have achieved that and built UVW from a union of 4 members to the amazing union we are today with over 20 staff and over 4000 members, which now includes diverse groups of other workers from the legal, architectural, charity sector and beyond.

We have already achieved so much but we have huge amounts of untapped potential. Together, with my leadership, through an unwavering commitment to organising, education and community building we will realise this potential and become a truly sustainable union and movement.

I have 10 years of experience in strategising and organising with workers which I will ensure continues to be passed on to the backbone of our union – UVW staff and members. I will strive to ensure they have all the support and resources they need to beat, once and for all, bullying bosses, discrimination, structural racism, low pay, excessive workloads, lack of sick pay, and all the other issues which strip our members of the dignity, respect and security they need and deserve.

I have organised 45 campaigns across multiple sectors, including 18 strike ballots and 14 strikes involving 139 strike days. I have also advised and represented 1000s of workers. I feel this experience will ensure UVW has the resources and strategies in place to continue to win and win bigger.

Under my leadership UVW campaigns to end outsourcing in the NHS and higher education have gone on to influence the organising strategies of large TUC unions and changed the narrative and landscape of trade unionism in the UK today.

As General Secretary I will continue to love and breathe our principles and ensure we remain the leading union for low paid, precarious and migrant workers.

Love and solidarity.

Always forward, never backward!

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