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Thursday, September 29, 2016
Church and trade union unite to defend Polish migrant workers' rights
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 The Transport and General Workers' Union Scotland has joined forces with the Catholic Church this week, to raise concerns over the abuse of Polish workers' rights. The union has discovered that many Poles are having to endure long working hours, pay infringements and no rights to paid holidays and sick pay. Some unscruplous landlords are also exploiting Polish tenants in overcrowded, substandard accomodation and illegal rentals. Home Office figures show that 32,135 migrant workers have registered in Scotland, most of whom are Poles. T&G Scotland has won a number of cases on behalf of Polish workers who were in dispute with their employers or had their legal rights violated. The Archdiocese of Glasgow has seen a major influx of Polish worshippers in recent months and Masses in Polish are packed every weekend. The Church is concerned that migrant workers also face a number of challenges outside the workplace including language, opening bank accounts, religious matters and issues surrounding accommodation. The union is urging Polish workers to join up to ensure that their legal rights as workers are not violated, while the Church is encouraging new arrivals to register with their local parish. T&G regional secretary Mike Brider said: "T&G Scotland warmly welcomes the role and contribution which migrant workers are making to our economy and communities. "However, we have become increasingly concerned about the violation of migrant workers' rights within and outwith the workplace." A public meeting, in Polish, will be held at Transport House, on 8 October.. Archbishop Mario Conti, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, said: "I am delighted to work with the union to offer support and solidarity to the newly arrived Poles and their families. Their contribution, economically, culturally and spiritually to Scotland will be greatly enriching, and we must do all we can to ensure they are not ill-treated or exploited."
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