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Scotland in UNISON



Friday 23 June Reports 3



Organising and protecting migrant workers rights

Pat RowlandUNISON will build upon the good practice already evident in Scotland engaging with and recruiting migrant workers and will support a program of ratification of International labour Organisation Convention 143 and United Nations Convention 1990 on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and their families regardless of status.

Scotland has been at the forefront on leading campaigns to welcome migrants to our country - Overseas Nurses Network; a refugee learning project funded by Home Office supported and mentored by UNISON stewards; and leading campaigns against racism.

Pat Rowland, said "The UK relies on migrant workers. Far from being the scroungers and the criminals which the prejudiced would have you believe, they make a valuable contribution to our economy and ethnic and cultural diversity to our society. They fill vacancies in skilled jobs such as doctors and nurses and a plethora of less skilled manual posts."

"Scotland has an acute interest in migrant workers as for years it has suffered from trickling emigration which threatened to see the population fall below 5 million. In the last couple of years Scotland has encouraged and enjoyed a net influx of people, many from the former countries of Eastern Europe, who have come to work and pay taxes if the economic health of Scotland is to improve further, more new Scots are needed and the need is recognised by the Scottish Executive through its Fresh Talent policy."

"Unfortunately this policy seems at odds with the UK Government being hell bent on meeting targets to discourage immigrants and forcefully remove those seeking asylum or who come in by the backdoor. We should welcome migrants as an enhancement to our workforce and grant them the same legal rights as every other worker in the UK."

Hamid Rasheed, Perth & Kinross Local Government, said "Labour migration is a natural phenomena - it's not an immigration issue - it is time to shift the debate to set focus on migrant workers' rights”.


Workers memorial day

UNISON is to push for recognition of 28th April, Workers' Memorial Day as a National Day of Remembrance of workers who have died. In Britain, more than 250 are killed at work and thousands seriously injured each year.

Tom Clark, South Lanarkshire Local Government said "In Scotland, we particularly remember the men young and old killed in the Piper Alpha Rig in the North Sea, commemorated on a plaque in Strathclyde Park. We say a silent prayer as we walk past."

"We commemorate the mainly women of Stockline Plastics, blown up at their work leaving many kids without a mum or dad. We go back in history and remember the Blantyre miners killed in the pits of South Lanarkshire."

"Let us every year commemorate our dead. But let us continue our struggle to make workplaces safe for our living."