CAIWU’s origins are within the Latin American Workers Association (“LAWAS”). The founders of LAWAS were involved with the T&G and then UNITE’s Justice for Cleaners Campaigns. Feeling unheard and unrepresented, they left UNITE to join the “Cleaners’ Branch” of the Industrial Workers of the World (“IWW”, or the “Wobblies”). However, as a result of political differences, as well as limited control over their own resources, they left and founded the IWGB in August 2012.
At the same time, a group of mainly outsourced workers were organising and campaigning at the University of London through the Senate House Branch of the public sector union UNISON. They won the London Living Wage in UNISON and initiated the “3 Cosas Campaign”. However, they felt that the campaign was being undermined at UNISON and that the outsourced workers and campaigners were being ignored. The discontent culminated in the nullification of branch elections in the spring of 2013, after which the workers broke away and founded the University of London branch of the IWGB.
Following further internal differences over direction and strategy, members of the Cleaners & Facilities branch of the IWGB left to set up CAIWU.
CAIWU has waged several high-profile campaigns at the Royal Opera House, University of East London, Facebook, Nike Town, the British Medical Association, and the Ministry of Defence. CAIWU continues to campaign for improved pay and working conditions across its organised workplaces.
Who we are
CAIWU was founded in 2016 and is an independent workers union designed to help organise cleaners across the UK.
CAIWU is run by its members, for its members and all have equal rights and an equal voice in how it is run. We are founded on the principle that our members are the core of the union, and they make the decisions. From top to bottom, there is democracy and openness in how the union is run and how it negotiates with employers.
How we can help?
We can help you and your colleagues get organised. We have helped cleaners all over London to campaign for and win better pay, terms and conditions.
Our trade representatives can help you in all kinds of workplace situations, including disciplinary and grievance processes as well as redundancy consultations. We also assist members in their employment tribunal claims.
Our monthly language exchange can help you practice and improve your English and other language skills.
Join us in a whole range of regular social activities – from barbecues and dancing to talks and bus trips. Meet workers from other places, share your stories, and make new friends.
To find out more, why not contact us?