The conference season begins... - Refugee Council
September 25, 2009

The conference season begins…

 By Jonathan, Policy and Development team

We started with a flying visit to the TUC conference in Liverpool last week, where we had a joint fringe meeting with the TUC in support of our campaign for asylum seekers to be entitled to work.

It was great that the Brendan Barber, the TUC General Secretary, was able to attend our meeting and speak publicly once again in support of our campaign. We also had Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS, the trade union which includes members working in the Home Office, speak out about his union’s active support for this campaign.

We also heard from representatives from the Refugee Forum North-East and Manchester Refugee Support Network, who spoke about their campaigning on work, and the experiences of asylum seekers in the UK. Their speeches were an energising rallying cry as to why this campaign is so important for individual asylum seekers in this country.

There was a really strong feeling in the discussion after the speeches that it is at times of economic hardship that we need to speak up for the most vulnerable in our society. Asylum seekers are amongst the most vulnerable in our society and they should be entitled to work.

There was also a clear view that we are stronger when refugee community organisations, charities, trade unions, faith groups and other organisations come together.

We now have 25 trade unions in support of this campaign – we need to capitalise on this support and with the growing number of individuals and organisations that are signing up to this campaign, continue to push the government for asylum seekers to be entitled to work.