Protests aim to beat bosses’ sneers about migrants
THOUSANDS of Polish men and women living and working in Britain will refuse to clock in to work today in a bid to highlight the hypocrisy of migrant-bashing bosses.
London-based Poles are set to down tools and join a demonstration outside Parliament where they will wear T-shirts bearing the message: “Enough! Stop blaming us!”
And a second group will present themselves at blood banks, giving blood to demonstrate their solidarity with British people.
Workers on casualised shift patterns will refuse to turn up on Thursday morning, and it is thought that some small businesses will be forced to close for the day.
Organisers hope the action will demonstrate how Polish people contribute to Britain’s economy and culture, which they say has been forgotten amid media scare stories of immigrant scroungers.
Polish businessman John Zylinski, who intends to stand as a candidate for London mayor next year, said he was joining the demonstration because people feel “seriously scapegoated” in Britain.
“We utterly and completely reject the charge that Poles come to this country for state benefits,” he wrote in an article for the Guardian.
“This is a fiction — or at least so marginal a factor that it is not worth taking seriously.
“We want to show that without the input and work ethic of the Polish community this country, or at least London, could grind to a halt within three hours.”
The unofficial action is not organised by trade unions and it has been criticised by ex-pat associations the Federation of Poles in Great Britain (FPGB) and British Poles Initiative (BPI).
FPGB chair Tadeusz Stenzel told the London 24 website that whilst he “appreciated the concerns and frustrations of some migrant workers,” he believed strike action “would do more harm than good.”
The BPI said it favoured a blood donation scheme which is supported by more than 40 Polish organisations.
Poles have taken to Twitter to post selfies with clinic equipment using the #PolishBlood hashtag.
Donors hope the images will remind Brits of the sacrifice made by the population of Poland during the second world war, when the Polish presence in the RAF was particularly significant.
Last week Polish hotel cleaning supervisor and accountancy student Edith told the Star she favoured a strike of migrant workers.
“Then people would know exactly what we do,” she said.
“We are here, we contribute, we pay our taxes. I do not understand why there are these constant attacks on migrants.”