Join our weekly Covid-19 calls on Mondays at 7pm! These are open to everyone, whether you're a member, a volunteer, an activist or a supporter. Head to the IWGB Facebook page to follow on Facebook live. To join via Zoom, click on this link at 7pm on Monday: https://zoom.us/s/197558184
Each call features updates from reps and activists giving campaign updates, as well as a guest speaker. Every week we'll focus on one key campaign ask that everyone on the call can take forward.
Education workers unite! Is it safe for children to go back to school? How does this impact of those who look after them? Leanne, a foster care worker and IWGB Branch Coordinator, spoke on the difficulties they have faced throughout this crisis. Amanda Martin, the President of the National Education Union talked us through their successful battle against schools reopening while conditions were unsafe. The Cycling Instructors branch of IWGB introduced the important educational work they do with children and adults and their campaign throughout this crisis.
Is it safe to return to work? Many cleaners and other low-wage workers are being forced back to work with the threat of losing their jobs. Wilson, Chair of the Cleaners and Facilities branch of the IWGB, is holding these employers to account. We also heard from Dr Zania Stamataki, a viral immunologist at the University of Birmingham who offered her expert opinion on the easing of the lockdown.
How do you organise effectively during a pandemic? We were joined by Jane McAlevey, a titan of the modern labour movement. She spoke about how to build powerful campaigns in workplaces and communities. Rebecca Winson from the New Economics Foundation spoke about the new IWGB Holding Branch which is open to any worker. We also heard updates from Vice-President Max Dewhurst, General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee, President Henry Chango Lopez and Charity Workers Branch Secretary Hilal Yazan.
Is it safe to start easing the lockdown? Guest speaker Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet medical journal, spoke about the government's policy and their failure to prepare for the pandemic. Alex Marshall, Chair of the Couriers Branch, gave an update on the union's campaign against redundancies and trade union victimisation at The Doctors Laboratory.
Why is the Covid-19 crisis disproportionately impacting BAME communities? Guest speaker Dr Hina Shahid, Chair of the Muslim Doctors Association, discussed institutional racism and how it impacts health. We also heard updates about the United Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB from organiser Kulsoom Jafri and driver Ahmad Adiatu. IWGB President Henry Chango-Lopez spoke about the problems facing members of the union who are being made to return to work.
The focus of this call was on women and non-binary members' perspectives and organising. We discussed sexual harassment and transphobia in the workplace, gendered issues caused by the pandemic, and what the union is doing to address these issues. Dawn Butler MP spoke about the impact of the pandemic on women in relation to care work and domestic violence, and about the government's attacks on trade unions and migrant workers. Women's Officer Catherine Morrissey also introduced the latest news about the union's judicial review on health and safety.
Campaign ask: Donate to the crowdfund for our judicial review on extending health and safety to the 'gig' economy. Follow @IWGBwomen for more updates on women's organising!
Alex Marshall, Chair of the Couriers and Logistics Branch, gave an update on the fight against redundancies at The Doctors Laboratory, and Wilson Ayala Romero, Chair of the Cleaners and Facilities Branch, spoke about the branch's Covid-19 response. Activists from United Voices of the World told us about their campaign at the Ministry of Justice. General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee introduced our legal challenge for better support for self-employed workers. Guest speakers Prof Alan Bogg and Michael Ford QC gave advice on the latest developments in the furlough scheme and employment issues.
Alex Marshall, Chair of the IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch, works as a medical courier for The Doctors Laboratory. The company has just announced ten redundancies of key workers, attacking union members whose work is vital to the Covid-19 response. Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Federation, spoke about the demands of transport unions and the challenges facing workers across the world. We also heard updates from couriers organiser Alberico, President Henry Chango Lopez, University of London Branch Chair Maritza Castillo Calle, and General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee.
Campaign ask: Send a template letter to defend the TDL 10! #BinByrne
We heard from Austin from Game Workers Unite UK who are hiring a new branch coordinator, and Kulsoom and Sarja from United Private Hire Drivers who discussed what drivers are going through. The press team, the General Secretary and the President all gave updates. Guardian columnist Owen Jones argued that the UK Government's policy response to Covid-19 has been a disaster, especially for people in precarious work.
Campaign ask: Help make and distribute masks for key workers!
In our third weekly online union call, we heard from IWGB activists in the Cleaners and Facilities Branch and the Foster Care Workers Branch, as well as from the President and General Secretary of the union. Guest speaker John Hendy QC spoke about health and safety rights at work and statutory sick pay.
On our second call, IWGB Vice-President Max Dewhurst spoke about what couriers are going through during the pandemic and about the union's campaign to stop redundancies of couriers working for ASOS. We also heard updates from charity workers and cleaners, and from the volunteer team who are supporting members to access benefits. Guest speaker John McDonnell MP highlighted how workers are fighting back against exploitative employers, and the importance of keeping up pressure on the government.
Campaign ask: Pledge to boycott ASOS!
We heard updates from the cycle instructors, the University of London branch and the new volunteering team. IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee gave an overview of everything the union has been doing. Nadia Whittome MP spoke about how important trade unions are for winning changes, and highlighted issues with the government's response to the Covid-19 crisis.