Here’s our latest Newsletter, produced in February 2017.
Covers most of our recent casework along with other campaigns and stories.
our Annual General meeting will take place on 7th November. It will start at 6.30pm and will be held at the Sheesh Mahel – http://www.sheeshmahalbradford.co.uk/menu.html
What Will we do?
6.15pm – Arrive
6.30pm – Attempt to order food by 6.30pm
7.30pm – Business meeting – Election results announced, annual reports given and motions voted on.
8pm – Reflective chat; What has our union achieved this year? What do we want to achieve in the next year?
Here is a link to the facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/events/163712614084878/
We have been told that Tristan Chard of the GMB recently wrote to all GMB members in Bradford schools about the IWW.
If you’re one of those people – hello and thanks for looking us up!
We wanted to respond to a few things in the letter, and then tell you a bit about who we are.
We are currently supporting a GMB member in a Bradford school, and we think this is where Tristan’s concerns came from. This member has been with us as an IWW member for over 2 years, but when they moved schools about a year ago, they also joined GMB because it was the majority union in their new workplace.
The IWW calls this ‘dual carding’ (being a member of the IWW and another workplace union). Many of our members are also members of other trade unions because they want to be part of a strong collective voice in their workplace. We encourage this. The labour movement is one movement as far as we are concerned, and the workers united are strong! So, ‘poaching’ isn’t a term we recognise. Our members don’t belong to us, and we hope that all our members will join any struggle and any organisation which is making a difference for them and their fellow workers.
The IWW is a union for all workers, and anyone can join. We support our members wherever they are, but we don’t ‘approach’ workplaces which are already organised. So, despite what Tristan’s email said, we don’t leaflet or actively recruit for new members in schools – our members tend to join us when they see or hear about the work we are doing to support our existing members.
We DO organise in un-unionised workplaces! And there are lots of these in Bradford.
So – why do we, as IWW members, join even if we are also a member of another union?
We join because the IWW is a different kind of union. We have no paid officers. We believe in building the skills of EVERY member – to organise, to defend ourselves and our fellow workers. In Bradford, we have a casework team of trained reps who support our members. We run training in workplace representation and union organising, which is free and open to every member. Where we can, we try and make a strong collective response to the problems that come up through casework. Where one worker is stressed and badly treated – there are likely to be others! And we can challenge that more effectively together.
We don’t ask anyone to leave their existing union – it’s good to be in the union that is responsible for representing your interests at work. But we also believe in ‘industrial unionism’ – one union for every worker in a workplace, not divided by profession or grade. We are a small union – but we are a growing network across Bradford and the UK (as well as being part of a wider international union) – a network of people who believe in solidarity and supporting one another. Which also means that those of us who are lucky enough to be in unionised workplaces can help make a difference where it’s most needed.
If you believe in a strong, united workers’ movement, please talk to us. There’s a lot we can do together!
Bradford IWW General Members Branch
We received this message from a member of our branch who has been supported by one of our reps.
“I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ again to the IWW for supporting and encouraging me with managing my disability at work. Without this i do not think that i would have reached a settlement agreement, with which i am happy.
I feel that a weight has been taken off my shoulders, and that i can now concentrate on my health needs.
Thanks again for your time and commitment, to people who through no fault of their own can feel marginalised and on their own. Without this support i feel that i would not be looking forward to the future.
Never let them get you down.
Big love and respect.
Below is the testimony of Asif Khan a member of our Union who recently lost an appeal against a decision to dismiss him from his role as a member of support staff at Carlton Bolling College in Bradford. There are many aspects of Asif’s case which are of concern to those who believe in workers’ rights and social justice and the Bradford IWW is supporting Asif as he takes his case to an Employment Tribunal. It is our belief that the story has national significance and we will back Asif all the way.
Facebook is not the appropriate place to go into the detail of Asif’s suspension, investigation and eventual dismissal but we do believe that publishing his testimony is important in underlining why being a member of a ‘fighting union’ is so important. Success can be measured in many ways and battles can be lost whilst the war is eventually won. Already many of Asif’s ex-colleagues are joining the IWW because we represent a model that rests on democracy, participation, and conviction. A union where the member calls the shots!
“My name is Asif Khan and I was employed at Carlton Bolling College for 14 years before being suspended for what I believe was a politically motivated agenda. I was suspended for 15 months & was being represented by the another union until 2 days before my disciplinary hearing when they refused to represent me for submitting a grievance against the school & certain members of staff.
I was subsequently dismissed from my post in Nov 2015. I appealed & was given an appeal hearing date in Feb 2016. I was told by a friend about the Industrial Workers of the World and what I can testify to is that for the first time in 18 months I felt I had support in an official capacity. In fact my rep went well beyond any expectation I had and I can hand on heart say he gave it his all.
From day one I could feel that I was the most important person in all of this as far as he was concerned. Through endless communication & my rep’s dedication we prepared ourselves for the appeal. Unfortunately the appeal panel upheld the original decision to dismiss me (which wasn’t at all surprising).
Although I didn’t win my appeal I was more than pleased in how the IWW represented me. This is a union that doesn’t tow the line. It’s a voice for its members with reps that are genuinely wanting to help. I am convinced that had I been with IWW from the beginning things would have been very different for me. I’m glad I am part of the IWW now and would definitely recommend people join this caring union as it values its members.
As you can imagine, this whole saga had a negative impact on me both mentally and physically. I had problems sleeping & in my general social life. I have to say though, due to the way I was represented in the appeal, I’ve not found the decision as bad as I thought I would. What my union rep did do in a very professional manner was to expose the lies & collusion of my employer in the way they had constructed their case against me.
From my experience, if you are going to join a union then you need to pick one that represents its members. IWW tick all the boxes for the right reasons. Dont waste your time with the likes of others like I did. Join the IWW, a union that truly represents its members.”
A major Bradford voluntary sector organisation has been forced to make major amendments to its absence policy following a challenge by a Bradford IWW member with the support of our union.
The long standing absence policy was amended last year removing any managerial discretion regarding how ‘disability related absence’ was treated. The changes meant that such absences were treated in exactly the same way as an ordinary absence due to ill-health, counting toward a particularly punitive numerical trigger point. In this case the change meant that three separate occasions of absence (half day or more) would automatically trigger a review with disciplinary sanctions potentially leading to dismissal.
Our member, who suffers from an auto-immune condition had levels of total absence much lower than colleagues but was unduly affected by the numerical counting of ‘occasions’ of absence rather than a cumulative number of days. The consequence of this was that whilst colleagues might have weeks off work because of one or two periods of sickness, her much lower total of absences was spread across more occasions inevitably triggering the new procedure and an ‘Individual Attendance Plan’ with an additional and still more restrictive set of trigger points.
With the support of her union this employee submitted a grievance. In the first hearing she was bullied and cajoled and the grievance was lost. Shaken and disappointed she was however unbroken and she submitted an appeal which was heard two weeks ago by the CEO. Our member cogently argued that the policy was discriminatory and breached the Equality Act as it effectively prevented consideration of ‘reasonable adjustments’ around disability related absence.
Yesterday she received a letter accepting the need for a revision to the organisations policy and outlining the proposed changes to the text. The revision requires that where an absence is caused by a disability the organisation must now explore reasonable adjustments to the Absence Policy itself and where necessary dis-apply the numerical trigger points to the worker.
This constitutes both a major success for the individual member and a massive change to the terms and conditions of the hundreds of other workers employed by the organisation.
In this respect A ‘Victory for One’ truly is a ‘Victory for All’. Individual struggle can improve the workplace for everyone but underlines just why it is so important that we all join a union.
SOLIDARITY IS STRENGTH