The following motion was passed at our branch meeting on 12 May 2022.
This branch notes:
- The ongoing war in Ukraine has forced almost five million people to flee the country1.
- Neighbouring countries have accepted the majority of refugees, and Unite has supported the efforts of trade unions in these countries to assist displaced people by promoting the International Trade Union Confederation appeal for donations. Our branch has donated £1000.
- That the UK Government continues to require a visa for Ukrainians to enter the country. Many other countries have waived this requirement.
- That the Ukraine Family Scheme and ‘sponsorship’ scheme set up by the Westminster Government will rightly allow people to work for any employer and to access benefits and public services.
- That Ukraine has a significant tech sector, estimated to be worth $6.8 billion and employing 285,000 people2 and that many of us have Ukrainian colleagues or work contacts.
- The example set by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (which is both a professional body and trade union) in offering free membership to asylum-seeking and displaced peoples who would otherwise be eligible for membership.
This branch believes:
- That the response to the Ukraine refugee crisis is at odds with the response to many other conflicts, with Boris Johnson saying the UK could accommodate “200,000 or more”3 displaced persons. It contrasts starkly with the appalling treatment those fleeing war zones who cross the Channel by boat continue to face. We should call out the double-standards of the Westminster Government and renew our demand for an end to the Hostile Environment.
- That the Westminster Government must drop its requirement for visas for Ukrainians to enter the UK.
- That the trade union movement should make efforts to welcome Ukrainian – and all – refugees into its ranks and to ensure people are aware of their rights at work.
This branch resolves:
- To offer to pay the Unite membership fees for any refugees or asylum seekers that join our Unite Community twin branches.
- To offer to pay the Unite membership fees for Ukrainians and other refugees who are seeking employment in tech and digital industries and who would be eligible for membership of our branch.
- That these two policies be reviewed after six months.