Globe, Struggles, Trade Unions, United Kingdom, Workers

Latinos in precarious employment say ‘no’ to labour exploitation in the UK

A growing number of workers are subjected to unjust and inhumane conditions imposed by the systematic use of subcontracting. To this end, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is organising a march on the 30 October to demonstrate against precarious employment.

 

Precarious workers are those who fill permanent job needs but are denied permanent employee rights.

According to the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), “these workers are subject to unstable employment, lower wages and more dangerous working conditions”. That’s to say, they’re exploited.

The ILRF hits the mark with its description: “They rarely receive social benefits and are often denied the right to unionize, workers are scared to organize if they know they are easily replaceable.

Women, minorities and migrant workers are much more likely to fill these kinds of jobs through outsourcing, use of employment agencies, and inappropriate classification of workers as ‘short-term’ or ‘independent contractors’.”

Things are no different in the United Kingdom, inasmuch as the problem is a global one. For this reason, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is organising a march on the 30 October, beginning at 8 am.

The objective is to follow the path paved by last year’s protest, “Precarious Labour Strikes Back”, which was also organised by the IWGB. The organisers explain that the protest “united hundreds of workers from different organisations and unions”.

The upcoming protest will coincide with the hearing of the legal case brought by the union against Uber, which will take place in the Supreme Court.

The IWGB has sought to attract the attention of the media covering the Uber case, and in doing so raise awareness of the precarious labour practices that exist in the United Kingdom, “whether that be in the so called ‘gig economy’, through outsourcing of employees or by any other method.”

President of the IWGB, Henry Chango Lopez, spoke to The Prisma about the march.

What is the objective of the march?

To demonstrate in defense of labour rights. On the 30 October, our union has an appeal hearing of the case against Uber in defence of workers’ rights. Uber has around 50,000 people driving for it through its app in the UK, but it denies its workers’ basic labour rights.

The day of the protest, a group of subcontracted workers at the University of London will be on strike.

These workers are fighting to end the use of subcontracting at the university and, after more than a year’s campaigning, they are ever closer to reaching their goal.

What role do Latin Americans play in this protest?

We are marching to demonstrate that the problems of precarity go far beyond Uber, because they are affecting many workers, including Latin American workers in the cleaning sector.

Who are the workers with little job security and why do they find themselves in this condition of precarity?

Most of them are working as couriers, making food deliveries by bike. But there are workers in conditions of precarity in many industries. Many people earn less than the minimum wage. The ongoing campaign within the University of London is pressing for an end to outsourcing, because the subcontractor agencies exploit their workers.

Are the majority of Latin Americans ‘precarious workers’?

At this time, in the UK, the majority of Latin Americans do have precarious jobs. One of the main problems is the language barrier and that’s why they find themselves in this position. Since they don’t speak English, they can’t defend themselves from abuse in a country where they don’t know the system.

Further information: Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB)

(Translated by Elizabeth Dann – Wmail:elizabethdann@blueyonder.co.uk) – Photos: Pixabay

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