Vulnerable workers demand protection while business leaders seek reassurance after shocking Brexit result is released on Friday.
More than 11,000 migrants plan to stage ‘workplace action’ on 4 July, in the hope of securing “legally guaranteed protection” following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.
A Facebook event set up by Kristof Deak, a Hungarian film director based in London who previously worked for the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, calls for “quick and decisive action from government” to protect the two million EU migrants currently working in the UK.
In a statement, Deak said:
“We feel vulnerable now and we want quick and decisive action from the government to protect us. We can’t spend the next months or years wondering if we have a future in the UK. We can’t rely on politicians’ empty promises on this matter. We need legislation to back this up.”
“We want to work – not [to] be seen as ‘lazy immigrants’. We want our action to be legal and not divisive. Without union support, this won’t be possible. Many would be excluded too, so it’s just not the best way,”
As of Monday, 11,000 people had signed up to the event, with more than 27,000 interested in the proposed ‘workplace action’, which will see migrants and supporters of the cause wear t-shirts and badges to pledge allegiance.
The original campaign called for a full-on strike but, after feedback, Deak said a walkout would send the wrong message to employers, and would be difficult to achieve without union support.
The status of EU migrants living and working in the UK was just one of the fallouts of the EU referendum debated over the weekend. In a speech to his constituents, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, pledged to protect the one million Europeans currently living in London, “who make a huge contribution to our city – working hard, paying taxes and contributing to our civic and cultural life”.
Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, said this should be a top priority for the government following the shock result. “The government should remove uncertainties over the long-term right to stay in the UK for those already working here as soon as possible,” she said.
Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.