Brexit on the agenda at Unite’s migrant workers conference

Brexit was on the agenda at Unite’s migrant workers conference, which was held today (February 22) in London.

Delegates from across the country heard from a range of speakers including Unite executive committee chair Tony Woodhouse, Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland, Unite national equalities officer Harish Patel, as well as Rosa Crawford of the TUC and Don Flynn of the Migrant Rights Network.

Holland, who is assistant general secretary for equalities, transport and food, organised the conference.

She said: “We will continue to campaign for justice for migrant workers as part of our campaign for workers’ rights post-Brexit.

“Our aim is to strengthen the industrial voice of migrant workers in our union and to strengthen migrant workers’ voice in our industrial sectors – in the workplace, the wider community, in our industrial sector committees and conferences, and to organise and build migrant worker membership of our union.

“The Conference brought together Unite reps who are migrant workers from across our industrial sectors – celebrating achievements, opposing discrimination and division, and strengthening our industrial voice. We will now be taking forward the positive ideas generated.”

As part of the Brexit negotiations, Unite is calling for safeguards that defend all workers against wage cutting, including ending the exploitation of migrant workers.

The safeguards include stronger collective bargaining rights, so any employer wishing to recruit labour abroad should only be able to do so if they are either covered by a proper trade union agreement or by sectoral collective bargaining.

This would guarantee a union-backed ‘rate for the job’, no matter a worker’s country of origin.

The union also supports the right of EU workers to remain in the UK after Brexit.