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24.07.2020 / News /

Mass Consultation: an essential component to UVW’s success

At our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in 2019, UVW members voted to implement a mass consultation of membership. UVW is a member-led, militant trade union and the Mass Consultation is an essential component of that identity. While Covid-19 has made in-person consultation more difficult, a survey of the entire membership is being conducted online, with the intention to bring recommendations to the following AGM.

While we couldn’t have known what was coming, 2020 has become a historic moment for the trade union movement. Never before have we seen such rapid growth in precarious and insecure work – and never before have we needed to rely on our guiding values as much as we do now. 

UVW is responding to Covid-19 and the erosion of our members’ rights and safety at work by doing what we do best: defending ourselves as a community and as a union. But the creation and maintenance of a community requires everyone’s input, and UVW’s horizontal structure means that every member should see themselves and their values reflected in the union. UVW is building a movement, and a movement is only as strong as its members are together. 

As the current economic pressures highlight the importance of direct and collective action, hundreds of workers are joining UVW every month. As Tony, a member who has participated in the Consultation Group from the very beginning explains,

“There is a lot to be sorted out. Before the consultation the union was in its comfort zone, it was very comfortable to go out striking and campaigning but we were a smaller union and we specialised in one industry and one style of organizing. Now we are taking on more members, more diverse members, different bosses and different areas of work… The consultation is an important process, we have plans and ideas to make things more efficient but we need to do things quickly and apply our expertise in low paid organizing across the board.” 

As Tony alludes to, the union prioritises self-reflection. The strategy of the union is built by and for membership and by centering lessons learned from past campaigns. 

Lina, another member of the Consultation Group, explains that, 

“The mass consultation is important because we must involve all members of our union. People must be aware that we are all the union, united to fight strong battles, resisting to achieve many successes and great victories.” 

She goes on to say that she hopes the consultation will bring, “more solidarity and unconditional support, because the UVW has grown in giant steps for the benefit of all members. Our Union has the power and we will resist and never surrender. We must make visible our flag and honour the logo of UVW, not only in the media but also across borders so it is visible in everything and for everyone.” 

We are facing unprecedented times, and in the past few weeks the union has shown it is up to the challenge, reflected in victories at the Ministry of Justice, St. George’s University and Ark Globe Academy. Help guide where we go next, use your voice to shape our movement. 

If you are a UVW member and you have not filled out the Mass Consultation survey yet, especially if you are a cleaner, security guard or work in the legal sector, please email us at YourUVWvoice@gmail.com.

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