17 May 2022

Refugees – Solidarity is a trade union issue

Zita Holbourne, PCS vice president spells out the inequality and discrimination faced by black and brown refugees in France and Ukraine.

This issue directly links to my previous article on the Nationality and Borders Bill & why these issues should matter to the Trade Union Movement.

War and the impact of climate change are sustaining and increasing the need for people to seek refuge. 

PCS has given practical solidarity to trade unions in Ukraine to support those who are now displaced because of the war and we recently held a special International Committee (which I chair in my role as one of the union’s Vice Presidents) on the Bill to look at what more we can do and what further action we can take. We agreed to raise through our network of supportive MPs in our parliamentary groups in London and the devolved nations and to give practical solidarity to all refugees by supporting the humanitarian aid work that BARAC UK, the Refugee Community Kitchen  and other charities we work with do. We must acknowledge that racism exists in the treatment of refugees, with black and brown refugees receiving less aid and support and the charities who support them struggling to fund raise due to pandemic and now receiving less support as all focus is on Ukrainian refugees.

You can support us by donating or organising fundraising events and activities.

The Refugee Community kitchen desperately needs volunteers so if you have a spare weekend or week of annual leave for example and you wanted to go and stay in Calais and volunteer to prepare food in the kitchen and help distribute this, your support would be appreciated. You can find out more HERE or contact me directly and I will put you in direct contact.

We have also been involved with organisations enabling support for the Black & Brown Ukrainians’, international students and citizens who were treated discriminatorily as they tried to leave Ukraine.

Last but by no means least, the NBMC submitted a PCS motion opposing the Bill  to TUC Black Workers conference which was carried unanimously in early May. We also submitted an Emergency Motion against Offshoring which was carried unanimously

Zita Holbourne, Vice President PCS