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News release: Joint campaign to improve English and employment rights for Polish workers

The GMB and TUC are joining forces to launch a free training service to improve Polish workers’ English and employment rights.
The GMB Security & Hotels and Catering Branch and the TUC’s Vulnerable Workers Project (VWP) will run the program for Polish workers in the building services sector, including security staff and cleaners. They will be offered free English language training and information on their employment rights, including how they can find support to enforce their rights.

The project aims to tackle the widespread exploitation in the building services sector. Many workers do not receive their full entitlement to wages, paid holidays, sick leave or have written contracts. Low levels of English can contribute to this exploitation, as workers are unable to stand up for their rights.

A lack of awareness of employment rights can also undermine workers’ terms of conditions. A recent report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that less than half of Eastern European immigrants receive information about their employment rights. The GMB and VWP joint program aims to tackle both of these issues.

An initial meeting for the program will be held at the GMB London office on 6th October. The GMB and VWP will then use this information to design a program tailored to the needs of workers. The meeting is open to non-union as well as union members.

Project Manager of the Vulnerable Workers Project Bob Blyth said: ‘Raising levels of English and knowledge of employment rights are both vital to prevent migrant workers from being exploited. Our program will help Polish cleaners, caterers and receptionists employed in the UK to get a fair wage and working conditions.’

Notes to editors - The initial meeting of the joint project will take place at the GMB’s London Office at 213 Church Road, Hayes on 29th September between 11.00am and 2.00pm.

© Trades Union Congress 2007