Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/541/6262

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 July 2008

National Shop Stewards Network Conference: Organising migrant workers

There were a number of workshops at the National Shops Stewards Network conference on 28 June. The Socialist will be carrying reports from them in the next few weeks. Senan begins with a report from the workshop on how to organise migrant workers.

The two speakers were Glenroy Watson from the rail union RMT, who is organising the cleaners on London Underground and José Vallejo Villa, a T&G/Unite member and a leader of the Justice for Cleaners campaign.

Glenroy pointed out that historically laws on immigration control have been passed to meet the economic interests of the ruling class. Changes made to the immigration laws this March allow employers to spot check the passport of any employee.

Given the situation where many black and Asians born in this country might not have applied for a passport, this law can be misused to discriminate against minorities.

He also pointed out that some employers refuse to recognise the emergency national insurance numbers given to immigrant workers but they still deduct national insurance contributions.

"Where is that money going?" he asked. "It has been only in response to strike action that we have taken in last two months, that some employers have admitted that they have made mistakes."

"In the past, we used to go to the churches and places where refugees and migrants go and campaigned in defence of their rights. We need to revisit those tactics. We also need to sharpen our political arguments. People don't arrive here without any skills, the majority of them do have skills. It's ridiculous that their skills are undermined and exploited. We need to have a public campaign explaining this."

Then José gave his experience in organising migrant workers: "I was a union activist in Colombia for 25 years. Initially I was shocked by the unions here. Being a trade unionist is a culture in Colombia.

"The first job I was given was a cleaning job, through which I met other Latin American workers. We began to organise in cafés and other places. Then with the help of the union I begun to organise the cleaners and initiated the Justice for Cleaners campaign.

"In Canary Wharf, the cleaners were afraid to talk to me at first. The majority were getting £4.85 an hour at that time and no sick pay and no pension.

"In July 2005, the cleaners in parliament went on strike, which was a real morale booster. In Canary Wharf one company agreed to pay £5.50. Workers accepted it and then demanded it be raised to £6.75. The companies said they were willing to pay up to £6.25 but they wanted the union out.

"Then came the HSBC strike. These strikes were very important in breaking down the fear that workers had."

In the discussion, a worker from the bakers' union pointed out that in an isolated working environment it is difficult to cut across racism. "We must fight to unite all workers," she added.

Others also pointed out that employers prefer workers from other countries because they can pay lower wages. We need to work towards unionising these workers. Anybody employed in this country should be given proper wages and not discriminated against.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 9 July 2008:

Striking back against low pay


Campaign for a New Workers Party

The working class needs its own party

CNWP conference: Wanted - a new mass workers' party


Socialist Party news and analysis

UK economy sliding into recession

Rich get richer: Why should we pay the price!

MP backs student fees campaign

Bonuses for chiefs, pay restraint for civil service workers

Government lies on public-sector pay

High farce from Boris Johnson

G8 leaders' 'world hunger' banquet

On the other side of the financial divide...


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Defend the NHS!

Property deals threaten private nursing homes

Cancer vaccines: who decides?


Marxist analysis: history

Terry Fields: A socialist voice that rocked Whitehall


Socialist Party LGBT

Marching against homophobia & racism


Socialist Party workplace news

Argos warehouse workers vote to strike

DWP strikes bring talks

National Shop Stewards Network Conference: Organising migrant workers

A day in the life of a call centre worker

Call centre charter: A framework for workers' rights

RMT conference discusses crisis of political representation


Shop Workers' Union Usdaw

Socialist stands for Usdaw general secretary


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 July 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Shop Stewards:

triangleDebenham's protests: Workers must not pay price of Covid-19

triangleNational Shop Stewards Network conference

triangleOrganising to fight for workplace safety

triangleSupport Clive Walder

triangleNSSN conference 2019: at the heart of trade union struggle

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleNSSN conference - 4th July

triangleDebenhams: Workers made to pay for Covid-19 crisis

triangleNSSN: Workers' safety before profit!

triangleWaltham Forest trade unions discuss the fight for PPE and workplace safety

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

1/7/20

Fighting Fund

Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time

1/7/20

Equity

Equity union president elections: re-elect Maureen

1/7/20

PCS

Change in leadership needed to secure union's future

1/7/20

Black Lives Matter

BLM has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists

1/7/20

Ken Douglas

Red flags line road for Ken

1/7/20

Leeds

Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

1/7/20

Socialist

socialism2020

1/7/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

1/7/20

Cardiff

Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

1/7/20

NSSN

Come to the NSSN conference

1/7/20

Sunday trading

Sunday trading: Government blinks first

1/7/20

Equity

Equity: Solidarity with Maxine Peake

1/7/20

Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets council strike

1/7/20

Ministry of Justice

MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak

26/6/20

Ken Douglas

Memorial funds for Ken Douglas and Mick Cotter

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999