A small but dedicated group offers an online service that provides employment advice to nationals of the Iberian Peninsula, who come to London to find work.
Unfamiliarity with UK legislation and its institutions are the main problems that this office responds to, as many Spanish immigrants remain unaware.
Aside from this, the most repeated situations that immigrants face are non-payment of salaries, dismissal, access to social services, and doubts on financial issues.
With this in mind, the “Oficina Precaria” based in London, has the huge task of creating a database that includes the most general information, to speed up response time and be able to assist more people in need of assistance.
The office is a service linked to the Marea Granate London collective, founded in 2011 via the 15M movement. The organisation has changed its name to remain relevant, representing the colour of the passports of those who have had to leave their country.
However the Office’s history can be traced back to when this civil movement began during the 15M demonstration on the 15th of May 2011, in Spain. Since then, collectives have been created in various European countries, as well as around the world.
Besides this service, Marea Granate also organises meetings and workshops, and has a feminist group called the Womens’Assembly. They spoke to The Prisma about this and other subjects.
What made you create the “Oficina Precaria” in London?
Mainly the disadvantage that we, as immigrants, have against businesses that take advantage of the desperate situation many Spaniards find themselves in. On the other hand, we offer information about the rights that they have just like UK nationals, to receive quality public services.
The “Oficina Precaria” is a platform of mutual support that was created in response to a need for information and assessment for Spanish immigrants in the UK, mainly information on employment, financial and social services.
What does it do exactly?
It provides information to Spanish immigrants via a website and an online assessment, which is accessed via a consultation section on the website.
Does it concentrate only on the Spanish community or other nationalities as well?
Our main target is basically within the Spanish community in the UK, as the channels that we have become aware of and that we normally move through are linked to Marea Granate and 15M. This group is mainly made up of Spanish immigrants.
Do you have statistics on the people who require your help?
The project is too small to have statistics. It is a service that was created from the 15M Assembly/Marea Granate London and offers help to everybody who needs this service. As you can imagine, the numbers are not very high.
Approximately how many immigrants have contacted you?
Since the website for the “Oficina Precaria” was launched, we have received more than 4,000 visits and 15 online consultations.
What are the main problems faced by the Spanish immigrants who come to you?
Mainly ignorance about this country´s legislation and not knowing the different organisations and administrations that could help them to resolve their doubts and problems.
What kind of situations or cases come up most often?
The questions asked in the “Oficina Precaria” London vary, although most are to do with non-payment of salaries or changes in working conditions, dismissals, working hours or holidays. Many questions are also related to access to social services and benefits, and financial issues.
What projects or campaigns are you working on at the moment?
For now, we are concentrating on answering the questions coming in. Also we are creating a database that will include all the main topics we might receive in any consultation, in order to speed up response times. This is a huge documentation task.
I understand that you work with other groups. Who are they and what do they face?
Everybody at the “Oficina Precaria” London is involved with other groups related to social movement at local and international level. What can be sure is that this is one of the many organisations created from the 15M Assembly/Marea Granate London. So everybody regularly attends events and meetings of these others organisations.
(Translated by Susan Seccombe – Email: ess.translations [@] gmail.com) – Photos: Pixabay