IWGB stands with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

Sat, May 4, 2024, 11:22 AM

The IWGB is a union founded on the struggles of migrant workers. Our commitment as a union is to a world where all workers, regardless of ethnicity or immigration status can live a life of dignity, respect and safety. In our union we have built a resilient community in the face of oppression and exploitation, and we are proud to be part of an international struggle of workers fighting for justice, who strengthen our fight as we strengthen theirs.

Over the last week the Government has significantly escalated their attacks on migrants. This goes against the core values of our union and must be condemned and resisted.

We condemn the Government’s shameful Rwanda Asylum Plan which recently passed through Parliament and aims to deport many asylum seekers to Rwanda, no matter their country of origin.

We condemn the cruel actions of the Home Office, including the forcible removal of individuals from their homes to be deported, as well as the forced transfer of asylum seekers to the squalid and dehumanising Bibby Stockholm barge.

We condemn gig economy bosses at companies such as Deliveroo, JustEat and UberEats for colluding with the Home Office and introducing new right to work checks which may result in the dismissal of many of the undocumented migrant workers who the bosses have relied on for many years to build their businesses and fuel their profits while paying them a pittance. Just a few years ago, these workers were being praised as heroes for keeping people fed during the pandemic. The gig economy bosses should be demanding the Home Office regularises these workers for their efforts.

We see the events of the last week as part of a long running agenda by the corporate class and the right wing political elites to stoke anti-migrant hatred and divide working people for political and economic gain. For decades, the corporate class and the political elite have pursued an agenda that has driven down wages and immiserated the working class of this country. This has created vast sections of the economy, staffed by large numbers of migrant and British workers, where workers are paid poverty wages, have little job security and are treated without dignity and respect. And they have profited richly from this. Now, hypocritically, they blame migrant workers for the low wages that they created in an attempt to turn British workers against migrants. And they use the police and the immigration services to try to terrify migrant workers out of standing up for themselves.

But we know that unity of all workers is the only way we will have the power to overcome the exploitation of the corporate class, the only way we can defeat poverty wages, outsourcing, zero hour contracts, job insecurity, lack of rights. In that spirit, we meet these circumstances with a renewed expression of solidarity with all migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees and a commitment to fostering unity and solidarity.

We commend the brave actions of activists across the country putting themselves at risk of police violence to defend asylum seekers from this Home Office crackdown. In dire situations such as these, our solidarity is our greatest strength, and it is our responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder and protect the most vulnerable in society.

The IWGB will remain a bastion for workers of any background to come together and build power in order to resist oppression - be that exploitative working conditions or the racist hostile environment. The battle to overcome the anti-migrant agenda starts with defending each other on the streets in our communities and with organising together in our workplaces to overthrow the regime of precarious work that the corporate class has forced on us. Join the IWGB today and join the fight.

What does the Rwanda Act involve?

The latest news regarding the Rwanda Plan revealed that the Home Office is planning a major operation to detain asylum seekers across the UK in the coming weeks as they prepare to attempt to deport people to Rwanda. This appears to take the form of intercepting asylum seekers attending their routine reporting meetings at immigration service offices, for example. It may also take the form of increased immigration raids on homes, businesses, and shops.

We invite our members to refer to advice from the Anti-Raids Network/Right to Remain regarding what to do if targeted by or witnessing an immigration raid.

Our allies at Migrants Organise have shared the following list of informative resources regarding the Rwanda Plan.

Please also refer to Care4Calais flyer aimed at those at risk of potential deportation to Rwanda, translated into multiple languages.

Action Against Detention & Deportations has also generated a flyer with contact numbers for legal advice and solicitors.

We encourage all our members to keep themselves and each other safe and informed in the current climate.

The IWGB condemns all violence towards migrants on all levels, from immigration raids on the workplace and beyond, to poverty pay and exploitation by bosses, to the structural barriers which affect access to housing, healthcare, and public services. We also condemn the UK’s immigration detention system where individuals can be deprived of their liberty indefinitely. We firmly believe in respect and dignity for all, and the right of all people to pursue a decent life.

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© Independent Workers Union of Great Britain 2024

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