The inaugural meeting of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) anti racist network took place in London last November.
It was attended by about 50 people, The overwhelming majority of them were migrant and migrant advocate organisations’ members.
The discussion stressed the importance that all workers, whatever their immigration status is, get organised to stop exploitation, and showed a general wish to see a permanent network created and coordinated by the TUC.
A number of thought provoking speakers were heard (including Emmanuelle Andrews, Liberty; Fizza Qureshi, Migrants Rights Network; Gargi Bhattacharyya, TUC Race Relations Committee; Liam Shrivastava, Institute of Race Relations; Sereena Abbassi, gal-dem; Sophie Chauhan, Dalston Superstore). The Government’s anti migrant and racist legislation was condemned and it was evident that the TUC and individual Unions accepted that they must do much more, both in challenging racism and organising precarious workers.
Welcome to this edition of SNN Newsletter! We are covering a number of items in this issue that will be of interest to everyone involved in migrant and refugee solidarity work.
First up is the report on our campaign for better asylum seeker accommodation. Our SNN colleagues in the North West are particularly active in this area and after a first online event during Refugee Week are now planning new initiatives to fight for better provision of safe and decent homes for people in the asylum system.
The second article is dedicated to the campaign “Our place is here” developed by Kanlungan together with other organizations in defense of the rights of domestic workers.
The third item reports on the SNN event organised during Refugee Week which assembled a roundtable of activists to discuss where we have got to with the campaign against the hostile environment and the steps that need to be taken for this to go forward. The key idea is the project underway to organise a People’s Tribunal on Migration Justice over the course of the next 12 months which will draw on the evidence of violation of the rights of migrant people to indict Government policies and help forge the sort of alliances we will need to bring about change.
The appalling news about the deaths of at least 37 people at the border between the Spanish enclave of Melilla and Morocco is the subject of our fourth feature. In response to this massacre at the hands of the Spanish civil guard and the Moroccan police authorities the Transnational Migrant Platform has launched an appeal for solidarity and action to force an inquiry into how the tragedy happened.
Finally, our fifth article focuses on the important role assumed by the Union, particularly by the Public Services and Commercial Union (PCS), in the fight against the Rwanda offshore plan and stresses the need to fight all together for the rights of migrant and native workers in the UK.
In addition to these items we also have information on the call for a public demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice on 19 July to coincide with the opening of the judicial review hearing on the legality of the Home Office’s Rwanda refugee removal plan. Do join us at this protest if you can.
Details of the coming campaign in June will be released at an online rally on 25 May 6pm , featuring a powerful lineup of speakers on the frontlines of the fight for migrant justice. Make sure to register here to receive further information about the week of action! (see below)
After 10 years of hostile environment, critics say immigration crackdown has had devastating human cost
Frontline Home Office staff have warned of a “culture of fear” where they are being put into dangerous situations, and may be asked to act illegally, on the 10th anniversary of the launch of the hostile environment.
This motion for use by Status Now Supporters has been produced by the reference group as a short motion to go, suitably amended, to trade union bodies, including national and regional conferences. We do need to get more trade union support in order to deliver on our core demand Status Now For All – indefinite leave to remain.
‘Conference condemns the continued political and physical attacks on refugees, asylum seekers and others without their status in the UK. Conference accepts that many people, even with the right to work, are often in precarious situations due to their immigration status. Conference reaffirms the right of all workers to employment which is safe and secure. To this end Conference supports the call made by a number of migrant bodies, anti-racist, poverty eradication groups and others that all undocumented and precarious people residing in the UK should be granted indefinite leave to remain.’
7 October 2021: Trade Unions: Organising and Promoting the Rights of Workers who do not have Settled Status
Why do we call for StatusNow4All? We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in *Indefinite Leave to Remain. In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else.
There are many people working precariously in UK and at real risk of exploitation by unscrupulous ‘employers’, due to not having settled status. Visas expire and personal circumstances change. Without settled status – Indefinite Leave to Remain – people are very much at the mercy of uncertainty as employees, and of employers. See the StatusNow4All website for a wide variety of posts about why people need settled status, and about the racist and hostile environment that puts them at risk. • People become undocumented when they do not possess an authorisation to be in the country they are in. Some may have been born here, or lived here for many years (think of Windrush), others may have been trafficked, and most have had authorisation at some point. Their precarious situation may be due to a change in the law that complicates their situation, or an asylum application for international protection that has been refused in this deliberately hostile environment, or their visa is no longer valid so maybe someone whose student visa has finished, or lost their job whilst on a work visa, or suffered domestic abuse whilst on a spousal visa • They may be domestic workers, care workers, or working in the garment trade, in a carwash, a sweatshop, the local takeaway, nailbars, prostitution, for gangmasters etc. etc. • There are others who have been given a Deportation Order for what may have been a miscarriage of justice, or a crime in order to survive, and they are living indefinitely without permission to work
We offer this as a model motion for promoting and supporting StatusNow4All. Please feel free to use it in your Unions, or elsewhere as appropriate:
This branch/committee/ organisation notes
The deliberate misrepresentation by Politicians and media relating to Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Economic Migrants which has led to an alarming rise of racism, Islamophobia and Antisemitism in our communities and workplace.
28.9.2020: The UK Government’s Home Office are planning to outsource asylum interviews to private contractors. They claim that the move is intended to deal with a backlog of over 40,000 cases. The move has sent chills amongst some people seeking asylum, and wider communities with experience of outsourced state services, and especially amongst those who have endured an interview process that was already dysfunctional before the COVID-19 pandemic and crisis.
Outsourcing the interviews would mean that whichever company gets the contract – G4S, Capita, Mitie, Sopra Steria or Serco – would be able to access highly sensitive and confidential information that could put peoples’ lives at risk. Could any of these private companies be trusted with access to sensitive information? Could they be trusted to employ case workers who are capable of creating safe spaces for people to tell their harrowing stories? Could they ask the right questions in the right ways and not intimidate people?