Unite the union: Affiliated to the Refugee Rights campaign

Unite the union, the biggest trade union in Britain with 1.42 million member have affiliated to the Refugee Rights campaign at their conference. Below is the motion that they affiliated to:

Refugee Rights Campaign

Conference notes:

• the UN reports that 65.6 million people had been forcibly displaced worldwide by the end of 2016. Nearly 22.5 million are now refugees, 80% of whom remain within their country of origin or in neighbouring ones.

• those who reach Britain often find themselves in dire circumstances. It can take years to be recognised officially as a refugee or asylum seeker, years of stressful, complicated screening, often with inadequate representation/translation facilities.

• thousands of children seeking asylum in the UK are denied access to education

• refugees and asylum seekers are denied the right to work, surviving on a £5/day allowance. This forces them to look for alternative sources of income, making them vulnerable to extreme exploitation by bosses who employ them illegally, typically on as little as £3/hour.

• in UK immigration detention centres, asylum seekers can work – for £1/hour!

• the vast majority of these workers are outside the organised trade union movement.


Conference further notes:

• the Refugee Rights Campaign was set up by refugees and asylum seekers who came together to organise and fight for their rights. Refugee Rights sees the trade union movement – with its emphasis on defending workers’ rights and its proud record of international solidarity – as a natural ally


• in 2017, Refugee Rights participated in numerous national demonstrations, including the UN’s Anti-Racism Day, United for Education, May Day events, as well as protests calling for the closure of the notorious Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre

• Refugee Rights organises free legal advice for refugees and asylum seekers.


Conference supports Refugee Rights call for:

• the right to work

• the right to join a trade union

• £10/hour minimum wage

• access to education, health and other public services

• the closure of detention centres

• Conference encourages branches to affiliate to the Campaign.







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