From the TUC

Say #refugeeswelcome – march on Saturday

11 Sep 2015, By

The vivid stories of human suffering that have dominated the media coverage of the refugee crisis have provoked reactions of shock and, importantly, solidarity by the public.

As organisations founded on the principal of solidarity and respect, trade unions across Europe and internationally have come together to say refugees are welcome.

In a joint statement this week between the ITUC and ETUC, Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said:

“This is not only a crisis for Europe; it is a global crisis. With some two million refugees already in Turkey, the world is faced with the biggest migration movement in 70 years, as people flee armed conflict and abject poverty.  Ordinary people, as individuals and through their unions, community and faith groups and sports clubs are showing the way to politicians – solidarity and compassion must be the guiding principles in this as in any other humanitarian crisis.”

The ETUC, General Secretary Bernadette Ségol said:

“Europe must share the burden equitably, and recognise that simply closing borders is not only wrong, but will not stem the flow. Ultimately, the answers lie beyond Europe’s borders, and we call on European leaders, and the international community, to work together to tackle the root causes of this unprecedented flow of people.”

Unions are also calling for asylum seekers and refugees to have the right to work legally, receive decent conditions and fair pay.

Show your support this Saturday by joining the Solidarity with Refugees demonstration in London – over 100,000 people have signed up to attend so far.

These kind of numbers would send an important signal to the UK government to accept an adequate number of refugees from ALL countries that need protection.

So far David Cameron has only agreed to take in 20,000 Syrians over the next 5 years.  This is less than Germany has committed to take for this year alone and ignores the fact that many refugees currently in need of protection from other countries such as Eritrea and Afghanistan. In fact, last year the majority of asylum applications to the UK came from Eritrea.  Cameron has so far also failed to accept refugees already in the EU that are currently residing in desperate situations in camps such as those in Italy, Greece and Calais.

The stronger the message of solidarity we can send through the march on Saturday, activism and media, the harder it becomes for the UK government to promote rhetoric that divides us, as workers and as citizens – and the stronger our campaign for rights and respect for all becomes.