United Voices of the World – Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW), is a newly-formed grassroots trade union for architectural workers in the U.K. SAW collectively take action and fight against the negative impacts of architectural work on workers, communities, and the environment.
Members of SAW organise both in their workplaces and across the sector around overwork, under-pay, unstable employment, a toxic workplace and university culture, discrimination and unethical practice. Members facilitate collective casework, host training and events, and run campaigns.
For more information, we’ve been featured in these articles and podcasts:
- Architects’ Journal, Ella Jessel, AJ investigation: Architectural assistants break silence on poor working practices, 2021
- Architects’ Journal, UVW-SAW, An architectural assistant’s guide to employment rights, 2021
- Dezeen, UVW-SAW, Architects need to stand in vocal opposition to the government’s segregated toilet proposals, 2021
- Architects’ Journal, UVW-SAW, Architects should oppose plans to change toilet design rules, 2021
- Architects’ Journal, Will Ing, Architect ‘scared to death’ after being told to work in the office, 2021
- Architects’ Journal, Richard Waite, Architects rebel after being made to work in office, 2021
- Failed Architecture, UVW-SAW, Solidarity and Safety in the Architecture Office, 2021
- Building Design, Jordan Marshall, Victory for staff as practice relents and permits home working, 2021
- Architecture Foundation, Architecture and Labor: Peggy Deamer with UVW-SAW, 2020
- The Guardian, Olly Wainwright, Furlough fraud, snooping and firings: architects speak out over lockdown exploitation, 2020
- Architecture Foundation, 100 Day Studio: Jake Arnfield reads from ‘Working for What?’ by New Architecture Movementt, 2020
- Architects’ Journal, India Block, Architecture workers are being exploited during pandemic, warns union, 2020
- Architects’ Journal, Kate Youde, Union criticises ‘extreme’ exploitation of architects, 2020
- Architects’ Journal, UVW-SAW, Rogue practices are dishing out callous treatment to architectural workers, 2020
- Architecture Foundation, 100 Day Studio: Business as Usual – AF Young Trustees with UWW-SAW & Dinah Bornat, 2020
- The Canary, UVW-SAW, Coronavirus has thrown the architectural sector even further into crisis, 2020
- Bricks Magazine, Madeline Reid, Maggie Scaife and Eni Subair, Meet the activists rising together, 2020
- Re-thinking Architecture, Saili Sawantt, Architecture workers are being exploited during the pandemic, says UVW-SAW , 2019
- Dezeen, India Block, UK architects unionise to challenge industry’s “toxic culture” of long hours and low pay, 2019
- Architects’ Journal, Kate Youde, Do architects need a trade union?, 2019
- Architects’ Journal, Simon Aldous, Weekend roundup: Can trade union combat architecture’s long hours?, 2019
- Archdaily, Niall Patrick Walsh, Is it Time for Architects to Unionize? The UK Says Yes, 2019
- The Architecture Paper, Emily Conklin, Section of Architectural Workers sets up union efforts in London, 2019
- Failed Architecture, UVW-SAW, Work Issues From an Architecture Office, 2019
- The Guardian, Olly Wainwright, ‘It’s in complete crisis’ – architects form trade union amid fury and despair over exploitation, 2019
- Archinect, Antonio Pacheco, Architectural workers in the UK have formed a union, 2019
- Architects’ Journal, Ella Jessel, Architecture union launches to fight ‘toxic culture’ of overwork, 2019
- Building Design, Jim Dunton, Activists launch new union for architectural workers, 2019
- Failed Architecture, UVW-SAW, Architects Unionise!, 2019
An End to Overwork
Employers should observe existing working time regulations, such as the 48 hour maximum week. Overtime should be optional, pre-agreed and paid. Lunch breaks, annual leave, and TOIL must be properly facilitated.
Transparent and Fair Pay
At least Living Wage for all employees, freelance and outsourced workers. An end to all unpaid work, including un/under-paid overtime, internships. Wages should be transparent and in accordance with company pay scales. Discrimination on basis of gender, migration status, parenthood, age, is not acceptable.
Architectural practice should move towards being democratically controlled by their workforces: as employee-run-trusts, cooperatives or via worker’s councils. Practices must end hiring and firing cycles, and the use of punitive probation periods. Studios should facilitate career and education development.