For workers to unionise and win victories against their bosses it is critical that they are able to always organise and reach out to all workers whatever their country of origin.
Sometimes, of course, very real language barriers exist between fellow workers, and this is something that bosses often cynically attempt to intensify in order to divide their workforce and better boost their own profits margins. It is here that trade unions can play a vital role in seeking to overcome some relatively minor language-based hurdles.
In this regard, in recent years the Bakers Union have been doing excellent work in the immigrant Polish community via Polska-UK; making sure that language barriers are overcome so that as many people as possible are unionised effectively to fight for better pay and conditions for all. (For more on this see Polska-UK’s active facebook here).
Extending such organising efforts, just last weekend the Bakers Union formed Portugal-uk to replicate the work of Polska-uk within the Portuguese community, a growing community which is currently composed of around 90,000 Portuguese nationals.
Bakers Union organiser and spokesperson for this new organisation, George Atwall, has already helped lots of Portuguese workers with work related issues and representation. However he explained: “The demand for services is rapidly growing, therefore we still need more volunteers and funds to be able to help all those we need our help.” Mr Atwall continued:
“We are the only organisation helping Portuguese community nationally; there is no other organisation doing similar work and working in the whole of UK. We are here to support our brothers and sisters, whoever they are, wherever in the UK they live and whatever work problem they have. We offer information, legal advice and representation. No matter how big or small problem they have, we are here to help.”
So if you know of any Portuguese or Polish workers make you pass on the word about the Bakers Unions work, and make sure you push your own trade union to do more to engage in active outreach to all immigrant workers.