Date: 17 June 2008
UNISON launches migrant workers' charter to challenge rogue employers.
Scotland's largest public service union, UNISON, will tomorrow
(Wednesday) take a number of migrant worker members to the Scottish
Parliament to talk to MSPs, and to launch a Migrant Workers' Charter,
outlining a range of 'good practice' for employers to follow. The
union is planning to campaign to get organisations who employ migrant
staff, to sign-up to the charter. Click
here for a pdf of the charter
The move is the latest in a union wide campaign to avoid exploitation
of this vulnerable group of workers.
Around 40 migrant workers from right across the globe will meet
in Edinburgh tomorrow to speak to MSPs and explain the problems
they face when coming to Scotland to work. The meeting has been
organised by UNISON, the STUC and the Migrant Rights Network. It
is taking place at 1.00pm in Committee Room 4. Present will be Sofi
Taylor (UNISON National Executive), Mary Senior (AGS - STUC) and
Ruth Grove-White (Migrant Rights Network) plus migrant workers from
14 countries from Kenya to the Philippines. You are welcome to attend.
Sofi Taylor, from UNISON's NEC and the founder of the union's pioneering
Overseas Nurses Network, said "Migrant workers are vital to the
continued operation of a large number of Scotland's industries and
services - from food production to care homes. They too often also
face exploitation and discrimination. We have arranged this event
so that MSPs can hear from the people themselves what they face
, and so we can launch a set of guidelines that employers can sign-up
to help these key workers."
In addition the UNISON Annual Conference in Bournemouth is today(Tuesday)
debating a motion on migrant workers. Greg Thompson, UNISON's National
Development Manager for migrant workers, said:
"Migrant workers make a very positive contribution to the fabric
of the UK's society and economy, and it is high time this was recognised.
Many local services would crumble without staff from abroad, and
anyone who seeks to hide this fact panders to the agenda of backward
looking critics. This ultimately plays into the hands of racists.
"The motions we will debate at conference are part of a union
wide campaign to ensure that we are doing all that we can to protect
this vulnerable group, and will encourage migrant workers to be
active in all areas of UNISON."
The Charter, which will be launched covers a wide range of issues.
It seeks to use the Scottish public sector to set the standard in
the treatment of migrant workers, and put pressure on other employers.
Dave Watson (UNISON's Scottish organiser said
"The Scottish Government and the wider public sector can lead
the way in providing a positive image of Scotland for migrant workers,
by using their powers as employers and procurers of goods and services
to promote best practice."
Notes to editors: The 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 available from Chris Bartter
For Further Information Please Contact:
Sofi Taylor (UNISON NEC) 07957 504 960
Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser)) 07958 122 409 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)
UNISON Press Office (At Annual Conference in Bournemouth) 01202