Sunday, July 09, 2006

Why we need an amnesty for "illegal" migrant workers

The Observer was kind enough to print an edited version of a letter I sent in to them today;

The true cost of cheap labour

I agree with John Denham that the government must overhaul the immigration system to crack down on illegal working, which exploits the poor and allows British firms to be undercut by cheap labour ('Call to halt exploitation of illegal workers', News, last week).

This is why my union, Unison, called on the government last year to grant an amnesty to anyone working in the UK without the knowledge of the authorities, in order to put an end to employer-led tax fraud and exploitation of migrant workers. Only an amnesty can end this exploitation.

Jon Rogers
Unison NEC member
London SW2

Before the letter was edited, I also emphasised the importance of union organisation of migrant workers.

The UNISON policy on this issue was agreed at National Delegate Conference 2005 on the initiative of the Greater London Region (see

Some excellent work is being done in the Greater London Region of UNISON to develop organising of migrant workers – the Regional website is at

More on UNISON national policy is available at

If you are an activist in a Greater London Region UNISON branch you should speak to your Regional Officer for support in recruiting and organising migrant workers.

For news about or help with anti-deportation campaigns visit

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