Protect migrants' rights: hands off our workmates!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 02/14/2017 - 18:57

Parliament recently voted by 332-290 against a proposal to guarantee the rights of all EU nationals currently resident in the UK after Britain leaves the European Union. This means that they could be forced to leave the country under the terms of any "Brexit" settlement.

This is bad news for Tube workers. LU has a diverse workforce, with many colleagues coming from migrant backgrounds. In the cleaning grades particularly, there are many workers from Bulgaria, Romania, and other eastern European countries, as well as colleagues from African or South American countries with dual citizenship of EU states such as Italy, Spain, or Portugal, which has meant they can live and work in the UK. Their rights are now under threat.

Tubeworker was for a "remain" vote in the EU Referendum, but whatever one thinks of that, and however one voted, it is clear that there is no mandate for the "hard Brexit" the Tories are now intent on pursuing - a withdrawal settlement that will see Britain leave the European Single Market, trash workers' rights, close our borders to future migrants and, on the basis of this vote, potentially lead to some of the migrants already living and working here being deported.

Was any of this on the referendum ballot paper? Certainly, those who voted "leave" for strictly nationalist or racist reasons will be cheering what the Tories are now doing. But surely even those of our unions which backed a "leave" vote, as RMT and Aslef did, must now take a stand against "hard Brexit", which so obviously threatens many of our members' rights.

Shamefully, five Labour MPs voted with the Tory government, against the proposal to protect migrants' rights. The five included two MPs - Kelvin Hopkins and Kate Hoey - who are members of the RMT's Parliamentary Group. Tubeworker is pleased to hear that the RMT Central Line East branch has proposed a motion to the union's Regional Council that Hopkins and Hoey should be given the boot from the union's group in Parliament. MPs who refuse to vote to protect our members' right to live and work in this country have no place in our union's Parliamentary caucus.

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