News

*BREAKING NEWS*: Worker’s Inquiry: Architecture have formed a branch of trade union, United Voices of the World! 

Wednesday 2nd October 2019

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Workers’ Inquiry Architecture have been working for the past 18 months to survey our sector from below, determining our shared issues and strategising ways to take action. We’ve held Open Meetings, interviewed each other, developed democratic structures, hosted workshops on member support and researched historic radical architects movements and unions. Forming a union is the next step.

We’ve recently joined the radical trade union United Voices of the World, and are part of an exciting new cohort of working groups within the grassroots union along with the Legal Sector Workers and Graphic and Cultural Workers. This is the first time that architectural workers have been unionised in over 30 years! 📣

UVW is a members-led trade union, who have won significant victories, like bringing outsourced workers in-house, from workers previously considered ‘un-unionisable’, including cleaners, security staff, and sex workers. We’re excited to become an active part of the union community, learn from their considerable organising experience, and run cross-sector campaigns with other workers.

If you are working in the architectural sector, or studying for future work, if you are overworked, underpaid, worried about stress and discrimination,  join the Union today at: uvwunion.org.uk/join-online

There will be a chance to sign-up in person at our Open Meeting on 7th October @ 18:30 in Waterloo, SE1 7NQ. Please remember to reserve free tickets here

Architectural Workers Are Unionising!

Monday 11th August 2019

We are getting back into action after a much needed break. If you’d like to get involved contact us!
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“How to Launch an Architectural Workers’ Union?”

Tuesday 4th September

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Following our recent demonstration on the last day of the RIBA presidential elections, at our fourth General Meeting we collectively planned our next steps leading up to the launch of an architectural workers’ union!

We presented and discussed specific working groups, and through peer-to-peer workshops, we mapped out and collectively timelined what projects and outcomes we’d need to deliver in order to launch a Union. The working groups moving forward are as follows:

  • Actions and Research: collecting data, visually mapping our experiences in practice and education, and formulating campaigns
  • Which Union?: researching and assessing potential unions against our specific needs as architectural workers
  • External Communications: (running our social media, conversing with the press etc.)
  • Structure: establishing the internal and external frameworks we need in place to launch a union
  • Graphic Identity: (name the union, logo, graphic style for publications etc.)
  • Launch Event: planning the future launch of a union for architectural workers

*If you’d like to be involved in any of the working groups fill in the form here.

“Which Union for Architectural Workers?”

Thursday 26th July

Previously, we’ve concluded that we need an architectural worker-led union. We have collated our demands for change in the profession, and drafted out a criteria checklist for what we’d expect from a union that we’d join.

This meeting was to collectively raise our knowledge of the specifics and structural and material differences of existing trade unions. We discussed our ongoing research into existing unions, and re-centred the experiences we’ve had, as workers, to raise questions and help us to understand how might different unions address these specific scenarios. These experiences were then catalogued as case studies and will now form the basis of a series of questions we will ask the unions that we’re proposing to join.

We also formed working groups: to research further into these specific cases (whether that’s about employment law, a specific union, trade union law), to write an open letter to the new RIBA president about our demands, and to continue to collectively learn which union would best suit architectural workers.

How do we make the group more inclusive?

Wednesday 13th June

It’s clear from the first meeting there is a keen interest and enthusiasm in the development of a union for architectural workers. In the process we need to ensure that we facilitate a safe and inclusive environment (especially for those marginalized in society). To work towards this, we will be piloting different methods of inclusion for both the groups communications and meeting structures.

–      We will actively reach out to members who have shown an interest in the group and try and facilitate their involvement in future discussions. (This will involve sending reminders 3-days and 1-day before meetings).

–      Meetings start at 7pm (30 mins for introductions and chats for new members) conversation starts at 7:30pm. 15 minutes is allocated at the end of the meeting for tidying up and chatting, getting phones numbers etc. for people that might not want to go to the pub. We want to create an environment that people feel comfortable/safe so we won’t be providing alcohol at any future meetings.

–      New meeting structure: short presentations at the start then 2 minute slots for people to talk. We will develop and enforce the use of hand signals. 1 person to bottom-line timekeeping, 2 people to facilitate (roles will rotate).

“What are our demands for (change) in architectural work?”

Wednesday 30th May

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We began by tallying up the cost of working in architectural industry; affirming that it is not our ‘own problem’, but a systemic one. We discussed what key collective demands we would like to make, to not only ensure our basic rights are respected, but to radically change our working lives.

You can read the full list of demands here.

“What (price) do we pay to work in architecture?”

Thursday 3rd May

This meeting was the launch of a sea change in architectural work. It was incredibly motivating to see and hear everyone expressing the need and desire to lay claim to the industry, as it never has been before. We are in a difficult time, but we can – and will – join the growing number of precarious workers taking a stand for their right to fair pay, hours, and treatment. We seek to work in an environment that is cooperative, transparent, ethical, and sustainable; and hope you continue to join us in doing so. [And remember, we’re an open group: if you know anyone else that might want to be involved in, be sure to bring them to the next meeting!]