From the TUC

TUC signs new protocol with CGTP-IN to help organise Portuguese speaking migrants

29 Aug 2014, By

Yesterday the TUC signed a new co-operation protocol to help Portuguese-speaking migrant workers in the UK with CGTP-IN (one of Portugal’s equivalents of the TUC).

The new protocol was signed by the TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and CGTP-IN General Secretary Armenio Carlos, who travelled to London for the signing event at Congress House.

The TUC has worked closely with CGTP-IN and Portuguese community associations for many years to support Portuguese migrants in the UK join unions and claim their rights.

There is a long standing Portuguese community in the UK (mostly concentrated in London). The majority came to the UK in the 60s and 70s when there was still a dictatorship in the country and in 1986 when Portugal joined the EU. At that time it was one of the poorest countries in Europe.

Recently, the terrible impact of the financial crisis that has caused very high unemployment and lack of job opportunities that has propelled workers to move from Portugal to the UK.

Over 50,000 youngsters emigrated from Portugal in 2012.

There is also a significant number of Portuguese-speaking migrants from non-EU countries such as Angola, Mozambique and Brazil working in the UK.

Many of these migrants are graduates, but end up working in low-skill jobs for low pay and on precarious contracts in the UK.

Unions help migrants have their skills and qualifications recognised and enforce their rights at work, but often migrants do not know how to join a union.

The new protocol between TUC and CGTP-IN affirms a commitment to support unions organise Portuguese-speaking migrants and produce employment rights information in Portuguese that can be used by reps and organisers – watch this space!

Frances O’Grady said at the event:

“This new co-operation between unions across borders will benefit everyone except bad employers and lousy landlords. It will help protect Portuguese arrivals from mistreatment, and make it difficult for employers who rely upon individuals’ lack  of experience to pay them less than the rate for the job.”

Armenio Carlos said:

“We hope that this protocol will help Portuguese migrants to understand their rights so that they do not fall to prey to exploitative employers trying to employ them on exploitative terms and poverty pay.”

You can download the protocol of cooperation in English and Portuguese here.