Two of the posters on display. Photo: Movement Against Xenophobia
Proud to be a poster boy for the #IAmAnImmigrant campaign
I am an immigrant. I’ve been a bus driver in Bradford for 40 years, proud to serve the community, and active in my trade union. Last year I became the first South Asian born President of the TUC and this year I am the Vice President. So I was very glad to be able to welcome the launch of the JCWI’s #IAmAnImmigrant poster campaign at Congress House, the home of British trade unionism.
Trade unions are strong supporters of migrants and ethnic minority communities generally, born here or not – indeed for everyone who works for a living.
We stand for equality, community and solidarity and our main concern about migration is that unscrupulous employers landlords and politicians use migration to exploit, to undercut and to divide. We want an end to zero hours contracts, the closure of loopholes in agency workers’ rights and stronger enforcement of a higher minimum wage.
But because we are the voice of people at work, we also have a major part to play in making sure migrants are welcomed into our communities and our workplaces, where they can play their part. Despite the Prime Minister’s clumsy and nasty attempt to exclude trade unionism from the volunteering he was promoting last week, we are the big society.
Unionlearn reps in workplaces make sure migrants can learn English. Our organisers make sure that migrants get involved in one of the oldest community activities in Britain: trade unionism. And our negotiators wield what academics call ‘the sword of justice’ to bargain collectively so that all workers are treated equally and fairly, regardless of their race, their birthplace or their nationality.
Which is why – as a bus driver and as a trade unionist – I am proud of the contribution I have made to Britain and proud to be one of the poster boys for the new advertising campaign.
Check out the campaign and the posters at iamanimmigrant.net