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December issue of VWP newsletter

The December issue of the VWP Newsletter includes articles on training available from the TUC’s Activist Academy for vulnerable workers who want to contribute and continue the work of the VWP. Also included are workers’ rights if being made redundant and what to do to win your case if you think you are being discriminated at work. For a copy of the newsletter click here.

Workshop on employment Rights for Poles, Slovaks and Lithuanians

The VWP is supporting BERR in running workshops to raise awareness of the National Minimum Wage and rights as agency workers in particular among Polish, Slovak and Lithuanian workers.

the workshop ‘rights at Work - what you need to know’ will be held on Saturday, 6th December from 3.00pm to 5.30pm at St Saviour’s Church, Cobbold Road, W12 9LN.

The workshop is aimed at Polish, Lithuanian and Slovak workers in UK who will be informed and given advice about employment rights. there will be translators in all three languages if anyone requires them.

The workshop will cover a range of topics related to rights at work including

Rights at work in numbers

  1. working hours per week and limits for some jobs
  2. holiday entitlement
  3. tax credits.

National Minimum Wage

  1. The National Minimum Wage rates
  2. Who is entitled.

Your rights as an agency worker

Making a complaint in cases of underpayment or issues with employment agencies.

At the end of the session you will have the opportunity to raise questions on particular work issues affecting you.

 For Polish version click here 

For Slovak version click here

For Lithuanian version click here

A Better Deal for Polish Workers

The VWP has joined forces with the Federation of Poles in Great Britain to run a major event, a Better Deal for Polish Workers, on Saturday, 7th February, 11.00am-5.00pm at the POSK Centre, 238-246 King Street, London W6 0RF.

All trade unions in the Southern & Eastern Region of the TUC, as well as statutory and voluntary sector providers, have been invited to attend and run a stall. Based on past experience, we expect hundreds to attend. There will be information for Polish workers on

  • rights at work;
  • what trade unions can offer;
  • advice and information from useful service providers for Polish workers.

Interpreters will be available.

We will also be running a series of workshops aimed at Polish workers throughout the day:

  • How can I get a better job? - training and qualifications in the Building Services sector;
  • How do I know I am not being exploited? - employment rights information and advice;
  • How can I enforce my rights? getting involved and building self-empowerment;
  • How does tax and National Insurance work? - check that you are not paying too much.

For further details contact Bob Blyth, Project Manager, Vulnerable Workers Project (020 7467 1355, or Jan Mokrzycki, President Federation of Poles in Great Britain (020 8741 1606, 

New date for ESOL & employment rights course

The VWP’s ESOL & Employment Rights course will now run for 10 weeks, 10.00am to 12 noon, from Saturday, 10th January 2009 until Saturday, 14th March 2009.The course will be held at the Workers Education Association offices, 4 Luke Street (near Liverpool Street station). The training gives workers, or those who are looking for work, the opportunity to learn more about their rights at works as well as, at the same time, improve their English language skills. The course is free and we will also pay any travel and childcare costs. Those who complete the course will gain a qualification in ESOL at Entry Level 1.

You can download an application form here.

If you are interested you should contact the Vulnerable Workers Project (tel: 020 7467 1355, email by Thursday, 18th December 2008.  

Next meeting of the Vulnerable Workers Group

The next meeting of the Vulnerable Workers Group will be held on Wednesday, 15th October,4.00pm - 6.00pm at Tower Hamlets Law Centre, 214 Whitechapel Toad E1 1BJ.

The group is aimed at all workers who have contacted the VWP for advice or attended on of our information sessions. People can discuss, collectively, their issues at work and, importantly, get tips from workers who have been in a similar position on how they can resolve the issues or guidance from the VWP on how to enforce their employment rights.

A number of past meetings have mentioned how workers are getting their wages and conditions cut by other workers who are prepared to work for less than the statutory minimum. Many of these workers are working, and are trapped. in the informal economy.

 This week Maeve McGoldrick from Community Links will talk about her project that is working with people to help them move from the informal to the formal economy without getting them into trouble with the authorities.  If you, or members of your community, are in this situation we’d be pleased to see you at the meeting. We can give you complete assurance that your details will not be discussed in public or that we will pass your story onto the authorities.     

Free ESOL course with employment rights

The VWP, together with the Workers Education Association (WEA) is offering workers free training to improve their English language skills and, at the same time, increase their awareness of their rights at work.

The course will run for 10 weeks and is accredited to Entry Level 1. Workers can choose

   Mondays, from 13th October to 15th December, 6.00pm to 8.00pm

   Saturdays, from 18th October to 20th December, 10.00am to 12 noon.

The training will be held at the WEA, 4 Luke Street, London EC2A 4XW (near Liverpool Street station).

Please contact Bob Blyth, VWP Project Manager, tel: 020 7467 1355, email, if interested.


October newsletter with vulnerable workers views on unions

The October edition of the Vulnerable Workers Group Newsletter is now on-line. This month’s edition features a report on a group meeting that was held with vulnerable workers to ask what their perceptions of trade unons are.

Minimum Wage increase

As from 1st October 2008, the rate for the National Minimum Wage is now

             £5.73 an hour               over 21

             £4.77 an hour              18 - 21

             £3.53 an hour               16 - 17.

The accommodation offset, that is, the maximum that the employer can take from your pay before working out whether you are being paid the minimum wage has been increased to £31.22 per week, equivalent to £4.46 a day.

Information in Polish





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