Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Organising Migrant Workers
I have been extremely fortunate to have spent 2-6 July in Coimbra, Portugal attending an event that witnessed the roll-out of an EU-wide training package aimed at recruiting migrant workers and encouraging their activism within trade unions.
These materials followed an extensive prior research exercise that more broadly investigated good practice in encouraging migrant workers into civic participation. I am pictured here with Rakesh Patel who heads Thompsons Solicitors Migrant Workers' Unit as well as the firm's operations in the South East.
Also attending from the UK was Ian Fitzgerald from the University of Northumbria who has led the TUC's research on migrant workers and who is eminent in this field. Also attending from the UK were Jenny Webber and Lesley Howard from the GMB.
Both Jenny and Lesley have been instrumental in developing new, radical methods to engage with the needs of new migrant workers and to ensure their participation in the union.
A question I would like to pose in response to this work however, is the extent to which you might feel in the UK that we need to 'normalise' this work and simply recruit all workers regardless of their status.
As ever colleagues, your comments are welcome.