Unite Scotland will ‘stand firm’ against attempts to name and shame foreign workers

Written by Tom Freeman on 6 October 2016 in News

Scotland's biggest trade union issues warning to employers in the wake of comments on foreign workers by Home Secretary Amber Rudd

The UK’s biggest trade union Unite has warned companies in Scotland it will resist any threat to the jobs, pay or conditions of foreign workers in the wake of messages coming from the Conservative party conference this week.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has retreated from a proposal in her speech on Tuesday to force companies to disclose how many foreign workers they employ, after criticism from business leaders and opposition parties.

In a statement, Unite in Scotland, which represents 150,000 members, said firms should not see Rudd’s speech as a “green light” to attack foreign workers.


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Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said the union was “extremely concerned”.

“Every worker in Scotland has the same rights, and we will stand firm against any attempt to undermine collective agreements by trying to divide certain groups of workers from their colleagues,” he said.

“As a union, we have a proud record of standing united and strong against discrimination of any kind in Scottish society. We completely reject the dangerous rhetoric of division put forward at the Conservative Party conference.”

During First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon said she would “stand four-square beside” any company that refused to comply with a request to publish details of foreign workers.

“What I find particularly offensive is the idea that companies will be named and shamed for the foreign workers that they employ, as if there was something shameful about employing workers from other countries. It is absolutely disgraceful,” she said.

Rudd appeared to retreat from the idea when she told BBC Radio it was "not something we are definitely going to do" but it was "one of the tools" under review "as a way of nudging people into better behaviour".

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