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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 (below).


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 551 978