UK Housing Union
The UK Housing Union is a Trade Union set up to represent the interests of workers in the Housing construction sector. The organization was formed on 06/04/2009, following discussions from forum members on the lack of a functioning union within the eUK, aside from the Guild of Hard Workers. Broadly, the union seeks to promote the interests of its members, and workers in general, by challenging job losses, wage cuts and summary dismissal, and undertaking campaigns for the general benefit of its members, such as militating for a living national minimum wage.
The constitution of the UKHU is a provisional document agreed upon by its members on a consensus basis. Upon sufficient membership, a version of this document is to be ratified at the first organised UKHU conference. In its current form it reads:
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UK HOUSING UNION- 1st Edition
Here are the central aims, beliefs and basic protocols of the newly formed UK Housing Union.
I. THE RUNNING OF THE UNION
1a. The Union shall be run by a committee who will make the decisions concerning the activities of the organisation.
1b. The members of the committee shall be decided by election by the union members every two months, with the date falling on the first day of the months in question. Twice a year, this will coincide with the bi-annual union conference, open to any member, and lasting 3 days. The conference will also be used to decide any changes to the direction of the union or the constitution.
1c. One member of the committee will have the responsibility of running the admin of the Union. This position should be rotated on a regular basis.
1d. The Committee should have their own Usergroup on the eUK forums.
1e. The members of the Union can call for a vote of no confidence at any time, and if 60% of Union members vote for this then elections for a new committee will commence as soon as possible.
2a. The Union will accept any member, upon these criteria;
- They work in the housing sector
- They would be prepared to follow the advice of the Union with regards to strike action, boycotts, etc.
- They do not belong to any other Union or Guild.
2b. There will not be a membership fee or subs for the moment.
2c. To join the Union, workers should send a message to the Union or leave a post on the forums.
III. VALUES AND BELIEFS OF THE UNION
3a. The Union believes that the workers should be entitled to a fair wage and a good working environment (ie. a fair employer).
3b. There should be no dismissal of an employee without an acceptable reason given, and the same applies to wage cuts.
3c. There should be no unfair discrimination of any kind by an employer.
3d. The Union should be free from direct association with a political party. The Union retains the right, however, to donate to a political party or candidate election campaign. This shall be decided upon by the members of the union. If they feel strongly that a certain party or candidate will be beneficial to the union then they should post on a forum topic designed for that purpose. If an over 70% of messages are in support of a single body then the Union will take action to show their support. Under no circumstances must a member call for the supporting of a candidate for their own gain. This will be taken very seriously indeed.
3e. Union members have the right to leave the Union at any time.
IV. FUNCTIONS AND PROCESSES
4a. The Union should keep in contact with employers in the industry.
4b. The Union should keep a list of all members, which sould be kept up to date.
4c. The Union should have a list, open to members AND non-members of the Union, of employers who have been unfair in the past, and employers who have an exemplary record in treating workers.
4d. If a complaint is made against an employer, the Union should first try to negotiate between the two opposing parties and then, if a conflict is not resolved, consider further action.
V. FURTHER ACTION
5a. There committee shall meet, and decide whether to take action against the employer.
5b. If the committee decide not to take action, then the parties involved should be notified. A message will then be sent to all Union members, warning them that a complaint has been lodged against this employer. A record shall be kept of the incident, and will be taken into account should any further issues occur with that particular employer or employee.
5c. If the committee decides to take action, then they shall first notify all members of the union, and the employer involved. This information should be put into the public domain.
5d. The Committee will warn the employer and give them 48 hours to respond. If no resolution has been reached after this period, then the committee will decide one of the following actions:
- Blacklisting and information. Some of this will have already been done but the decision to take further action will immediately result in the blacklisting of the company in question. Workers will be discouraged to work for a company which is on the blacklist. The length of time that an employer remains on the list for is a matter solely at the discretion of the committee.
- Boycott. This could involve the boycotting of goods produced by that company on the market.
- Stop supply. Strongly encourage the suppliers of wood and similar materials not to sell their produce to that company.
- Strike. The workers, whilst being in the employ of the company, do not work. Any employee fired because they are on strike will be compensated until they find another job (if funds are available).
- Mass resignation. All employees who are Union members resign and leave the company without a workforce. Only to be used in extreme circumstances. The employees who resign will be compensated until they find another job (if funds are available).
The UKHU introduces itself to prospective members with the following information:
What does the union aim to achieve?
UKHU aims to promote the interests and welfare of workers in the housing sector. It seeks to challenge the culture of summary dismissal by general managers. It seeks to campaign for a living wage for all, a wage pegged to the cost of quality foods. It seeks to promote the values of fair treatment at work, challenging unnotified wage cuts. It seeks to promote an agenda of equality, challenging discrimination on the workplace. As an activist union, it will launch campaigns for the benefit of the most vulnerable, young workers of eUK. Above all, it seeks to provide a forum where the voices that are least often heard can put forward their demands en masse.
How will UKHU achieve this?
Through weight of numbers, and unity of purpose, UKHU will promote the interests of those working in the housing sector by listening to the grievances lodged by its members regarding unfair work practices. Where our members are summarily dismissed, or suffer wage cuts, or any form of discrimination from an employer, UKHU will contact the general manager for constructive discussion and negotiation. Where this process fails to pay dividends, UKHU can undertake the following further actions:
- organise boycotts of the products made by the offending company, and militate for suppliers to not sell to this company
- publicise the poor working practices at the company in question
- after careful consideration, and a ballot of union members employed at the company, undertake strike action
- mass resignation of union workers from the company in question
Where financial loss is incurred through the above actions to UKHU members, UKHU will –funds permitting- seek to compensate those affected until they re-commence employment. Through these measures UKHU would fight for a fair deal for its members. Additionally, UKHU is committed to providing an up to date, and accurate list of employers who have treated their workers unfairly in the past – this list will be published in the public domain, allowing all potential employees to make an informed, ethical choice.
What does it cost me to join?
Currently, UKHU is run on voluntary contributions from individual donors sympathetic to our ends – there are no subs at present. However, all donations would be gratefully received! During periods of industrial dispute, members not actively involved in the struggle will be encouraged to donate to the strike fund to ensure that their union comrades are adequately compensated.
How do I sign up?
Search for the UK Housing Union, and add as a friend. The union will accept any citizen who shares our vision, is employed in the housing sector, and is not currently a member of another union or guild. UKHU administrators will reply to the request within a 48hr period. Questions regarding the union will be gladly answered as soon as is possible.