Four-year-old organisation will be union’s first branch for the architecture sector

SAW Unite

The Section of Architectural Workers union has affiliated itself with Unite, one of the UK’s biggest unions, which boasts more than 1 million members.

SAW was formed in 2019 and represents architectural assistants, model-makers, BIM technicians, admin workers, architects, landscape architects, estimators, students, visualisers, researchers, receptionists, university staff, interior designers, freelancers, cleaners and sole traders.

The union’s successes to date include coordinating industrial action to support remote working during the pandemic and helping more than 150 members with casework to secure settlements worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. It also championed Muyiwa Oki’s successful bid to become RIBA president as a “worker representative”.

In a statement today Unite said SAW had affiliated with the union earlier this month, forming a national branch.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said she was “extremely pleased” to welcome SAW members to its “family”.

“As part of Unite, SAW’s members will be able to closely collaborate with the wider construction sector, access expert training and receive substantial legal and industrial support during disputes,” she said.

“Unite looks to forward to working with SAW’s indomitable organisers in helping a growing numbers of architectural workers achieve improvement to their jobs, pay and conditions.”

An SAW spokesperson said the decision to join forces with Unite was an “incredibly exciting moment” for the architectural labour movement.

“By affiliating to Unite, the UK’s leading union, architectural workers are now even better equipped to fight against the workplace mistreatment they so regularly face,” they said.

Unite was formed in 2007 by the merger merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers’ Union. In the intervening years it has alternated with Unison as the UK’s biggest union force.