GMB Magazine GMB25 Candid Summer 2016 - Page 28

EQUALITIES UPDATE r acceptance GMB fights fo UNION FOR ALL Migrant workers from Poland and Portugal deserve representation. Project INTERPART Organising Polish and Portuguese workers in the East of England G CARLOS TRINIDADE From Portugal’s CGTP. Richard Owen, GMB organiser, said: “I myself have significant numbers of Polish members in the three Amazon sites for which I have responsibility, and we’re putting on membership steadily. I’m keen to develop closer links with these members, and I’m confident that this initiative will help to develop our ability to organise and defend them in exactly the same way in which we defend and represent our other members.” JOIN THE PROJECT ivist within To get involved as an act rker wo nt either of these migra ail communities, please em . rd ha ric at en Ow rd ha Ric k g.u .or owen@gmb 28 CANDID – GMB London GMB25.Candid_28_29.indd 28 20/06/2016 15:38 Rex Features and the fact that many are employed on MB was recently on hand at a temporary or short-term contracts. Often big one-day conference to kick off they are unaware that they have the right Project Interpart. The project’s to union representation. aim is to help organise Polish and Portuguese workers in the East of England. The conference was set up by the TUC’s HIGHLY SKILLED South East Region, SERTUC, and received financial assistance from the EU. A range of There are many reasons behind migration unions were there with GMB at the forefront. from both countries, including oppression – Speakers from ACAS, UNIONLINE, the both countries suffered under dictatorships Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Gang – and the 2008 financial crisis triggered a Masters’ Licensing Authority all talked about large increase. A third of Portugal’s nurses left, the experiences of migrant workers. It was for example: 4,500 to the UK alone. Many interesting to hear from professionals have moved Carlos Trindade of the abroad from both Portuguese union countries. It’s worth noting organisation CGTP, as well that many migrant as Bartlomiej Kubiaczyk, workers are highly skilled speaking on behalf of the and educated, and often Polish equivalent, OPZZ. work in jobs for which The day gave insight into they’re over-qualified. what it’s like for migrant GMB is keen to reach workers from these two out to these workers. communities, and some They’re open to of the facts were startling. exploitation by Around 25 per cent of Polish unscrupulous employers, workers in the UK belong to and GMB can help BARTLOMIEJ KUBIACZYK a union, but in Poland it’s just protect them while Spoke on behalf of 11 per cent. Poles under 25 growing its membership Polish union OPZZ. are even more reluctant to at the same time. SERTUC is unionise, at just eight per cent. setting up workshops for That’s just one barrier to organising Polish and Portuguese workers across East migrant workers. There’s also language, Anglia in the near future.