Some of this years highlights in picture.
the year started in customary busy fashion for the branch, with Member Defence actions around fees, street stalls on rent consultations as well as our monthly branch meeting.
in February we started where we left off with door knocking sessions around Partick and Whiteinch building a body of tenant rent consultations that were then handed in as evidence to support a zero% increase on the night the decision was due to be made.
March seen our branch host a hugely successful film night looking at housing struggles throughout the 20th century and across the globe, we were also invited to take part in a screening of the film Dispossession in the GFT with the audience queuing up afterwards to speak to members at our stall. There was also the landmark unveiling of the city's first statue of one of the the city's most famous housing campaigners Mary Barbour. On top of all this we were still battling hard to defend our members occupying both the homeless casework offices and GHA's city center suite in demanding the Smart family were housing in appropriate accommodation after being forced into homelessness by a money hungry landlord the week before Christmas.
A relatively quiet month we kept our Govan theme going by hosting regular street stalls around the new Mary Barbour statue.
We launched our hugely successful Seize the fees campaign in May by storming the a fancy Landlord and Letting agent conference to present them with a cheque showing the running total of unlawful Letting Agent fees charged to our members.
June seen us sadly commemorating and echoing the calls for justice for all the families affected by the Grenfell fire, our Member Defense actions took us outside the city as we teamed up with Living Rent members across Scotland to win £200 back for a member in Perth. In Glasgow we tracked down the illusive Letting Agent of our member Annie in a fight that would last until the last days before Christmas. On top of what was already a busy month we made massive in roads to neighborhoods with mass doorknocking sessions and Territorial Inquiries looking to map out the changing nature of our communities it was here we first stumbled across the condition of some Serco managed properties.
We spent much of July trying to track down the various shady investment firms and Z list celebrity landlords involved in denying our member's family the much needed repairs to their home, at one point occupying some very expensive park circus office space.
August was the month we forced global multinational to back down and suspend their plans to illegally change the locks on over 300 properties they rent to house people seeking Asylum in the UK. Forced to act swiftly we moved to ensure they had no soft allies in the city, we succeeded in getting non-compliance agreements from every Housing Association and the majority of Letting Agents. With nowhere left to turn Serco backed down and were even forced to cancel a planned wine and dine event for the city's landlords.
Recovering from a hectic month previously our members quickly bounced back into action successfully furthering the Seize the Fees campaign and building for the branch's first ever AGM.
The branch held its hugely successful AGM in October launching new campaigns such as Not a Penny on the Rent designed to push organisers back into neighborhoods to help organise our communities against ever increasing rent increases, we expanded our City Wide Organising Teams to include over 50 members and began looking to pick up our pace on the campaign for a #Winterbreak.
A month of training and expansion! After an intense few months it was time to equip ourselves with the knowledge and know how to further defend ourselves whilst growing the union. We started the month with a huge training day with Organising Team members looking at identifying power and building campaigns to achieve our every demand. We also seen new staff coming on board to pull together the ongoing campaign against Serco's planned evictions and volunteers looking to take on new neighbourhood organising drives to ensure our union is rooted deep in Working Class communities.
With no plans of slowing down for Christmas our members have covered alot of ground in the final month of 2018, from a serious push and at the time of writing repairs at long last being carried out on Annie's flat, a day of action on the need for a Winter Break, our first signed Seize the Fees Agreement with a Glasgow Letting Agent and a fantastic fundraiser hosted and organised by the Scottish Labour History Society that raised over £1000 for the union. We are finishing the year with a bang.
What does 2019 hold?
2018 was a challenging year for the Union and the Glasgow branch but our members adapted and responded brilliantly to overcome everything that lay in our path whilst continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate. Where in the past similar smaller organisations have stagnated or been a victim of their own success and buckled under increased pressure our Union has identified weaknesses and moved swiftly to build structures and a strategy that keeps the Union on solid ground.
We are now in a fantastic position to reap the rewards of our hard work, in 2019 our members will be building deeper roots into our neighborhoods and building our members up, further educating and equipping ourselves with the knowledge and experience to not only defend ourselves politically and economically around housing but to begin positively transforming the world around us.
If you want a New Year resolution you can stick to, make it a good one, join your Tenant Union! Join Living Rent.
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