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Date: 21 July 2008

UNISON welcomes report findings on value of trade unions to migrant workers.

Scotland's largest public service union, UNISON, today welcomed the publication of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on Immigration and social cohesion in the UK, published today (Monday 21).

The union - whose pioneering Overseas Nurses Network participated in the research - particularly welcomed the both the recognition of the value of the ONN in assisting overseas workers with integration and resolving problems, and the positive comments made in the report about the effective intervention of public sector agencies in changing the situation of asylum seekers in Sighthill in Glasgow.

Sofi Taylor, from UNISON's NEC and the founder of the ONN, said "While we know there are many things that trade unions can do better in dealing with migrant workers, it is encouraging to know that UNISON's initiative is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, things like our Migrant Workers Charter - launched in the Scottish Parliament last month will take us further along this road.

The union also welcomed the recognition that the intervention of the local council and other public agencies had turned round initial hostility to asylum seekers in Glasgow's Sighthill district.

Sofi Taylor said "This shows that the public sector can make a significant difference in bringing communities together. Just as the initial introduction of asylum seekers into the area with no information or pre-warning was a mistake, so the move to support for both asylum seekers and the settled residents was the right step and has led to far better cohesion.

This report comes shortly after the review from the Independent Asylum Commission also commended Scotland for its treatment of asylum seekers.


Notes to editors: The Migrant Workers Charter commits employers to sign up to treat migrant workers fairly - offering them the same pay and conditions as indigenous workers, committing to assist with proper travel and housing needs without exploitation, and assisting workers to overcome language and cultural difficulties. It is on our website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/activists/migrantworkerscharter.pdf .

For Further Information Please Contact: Sofi Taylor (UNISON NEC) 07957 504 960 Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)