17 November: Today the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) launches its Solidarity Squad: a network of allies and supporters of its mission to end exploitation and advocate for precarious and migrant workers as trade union leaders.
Solidarity Squad members will become part of this movement by actively supporting worker-led campaigns and making a regular monthly donation of as little as £3. All funds raised will go towards advocacy and support for the workers who need it most, providing grassroots leaders with the tools and support to win equality and justice at work.
The IWGB was founded in 2012 by Latin American cleaners in London. Today, the union represents thousands of predominantly Black and Minoritised workers nationwide including couriers, cycling instructors, charity workers, yoga teachers, cleaners, security officers, video game workers, nannies, university workers, foster carers and private hire drivers.
The IWGB fights to secure fair pay and workers’ rights through strikes, legal action and public pressure and is known for bold direct action and strategic litigation against corporate giants like Deliveroo and Uber. The union has won a number of high profile victories against outsourcing at London universities and bogus self-employment, securing the first recognition agreement in the gig economy to uphold the right to collective bargaining on pay.
The IWGB Legal Department handles hundreds of cases every year, from workplace bullying and discrimination to illegal deduction of wages. At the height of the pandemic, the IWGB defeated the UK Government in the High Court to secure health and safety rights for thousands of gig economy workers. This year, the IWGB has teamed up with Black Lives Matter UK to challenge Uber’s use of racist facial recognition technology.
Henry Chango-Lopez, general secretary (IWGB) says: “We have big ambitions for this movement but we can’t do it alone. With millions of people in the UK now going to work in jobs where even the most basic workers’ rights like sick pay and a guaranteed minimum wage no longer exist, there’s never been a better time to back the IWGB.”
Alex Marshall, president (IWGB) says: “At the IWGB we don't just put workers first, we train them up and empower them to be at the forefront of successful campaigns against some of the most exploitative employers in the world. As workers continue to see pay and conditions decline year on year, it is clear drastic change is needed. That change will come from the ground upwards and be lead by grassroots leaders from the IWGB.”
Maritza Castillo Calle, vice-president (IWGB) says: “The pandemic amplified many existing inequalities and patterns of discrimination so our work, particularly to empower migrant women, has never been more important. If you believe every worker deserves justice then please join the Solidarity Squad.”