Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Solidarity with Migrant Workers... Facts, experiences, debate!

Over 190 million people are living as migrants around the world. Poverty, much of it caused by the economic policies of rich capitalist countries, is driving people to look for work abroad.
Migrant workers in the UK do jobs that are often unpleasant and sometimes tough. But these jobs — from cleaning on the Underground, to caring for the sick and elderly — are all essential.

Some migrant workers are forbidden by law from working and are forced into the black economy, where they are prey to ruthless gangmasters and agencies. But even when migrant workers are working in the UK legally, plugging the gaps where there are labour shortages in agriculture or construction, they still suffer extremely low rates of pay, poor health and safety standards, long hours, excessive workload and bullying.

The trade union movement is now beginning to take on the essential task of organising migrant workers, using strength, numbers and experience to unionise and demand strong legal rights for all migrant workers.
They face a complex organising job — overcoming language barriers, building trust, allaying fears of reprisal from bullying introduction employers, working in areas where there is a complete lack of legal rights. That is why the self-organisation of migrant workers is so key. That is why our solidarity is so essential.
This No Sweat pamphlet is aimed at antisweatshop activists, trade unionists, student unionists who want to help. It makes the political case for solidarity with migrant workers as well as providing basic information and ideas for organising.

We need to stop this 21st century slavery!

We say:
*Unity between workers.
*The right to work and full labour rights for all, independent of migration status.
*Equal treatment for agency and temporary workers.
*Unions should not merely recruit migrant workers, but help them organise and define their *own demands.
*Benefit rights for all, independent of migration status.
*Solidarity with all migrants worldwide.
*No one is illegal!

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