The IWGB Charity Workers Branch is a worker-led, democratic trade union that represents and advocates for the rights of workers in the charity sector across the United Kingdom.
We see our interests as charity workers as aligned with the interests of people who use those services. We believe in solidarity, not charity, as the basis of a better society.
We are planning to start campaigning on the following issues:
- Low pay, insecurity, and overwork. Within the charity sector, there is often a culture and an expectation of self-sacrifice. This expectation is used to justify long hours and unpaid overtime, often leading to burnout. Low pay, and the widespread use of fixed term contracts has also created a situation of almost permanent insecurity for many workers. This is even worse for workers who are outsourced – such as cleaners.
- Wellbeing at work. Workers in the charity sector are at serious risk of mental health related issues, both as a result of burnout, but also because front-line work can be demanding, especially when dealing with trauma. Unfortunately, bullying and harassment are not uncommon, and concealed beneath the outward display of benevolence in the organisations they work in. The lack of mental health support or adequate process within the charity sector means these issues are not addressed.
- Seeing our work as political. Charity workers are often on the front line of the fallout from political choices like austerity, and the hostile environment for migrants. All too often, however, charities can be complicit in these choices, through working directly with the government, or failing to adequately hold government to account for the harm its actions cause. Frontline charities, whilst providing vital lifelines, can at times enable the cutting of state support where we believe it should take responsibility. We want our work to focus on addressing the root causes and ending these injustices.
Read the Charity Workers Branch statement on how the Covid-19 pandemic is impacting the charity sector here.
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Follow us on Twitter @IWGBcharity.