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Exploited Polish workers 'sleeping 16 to a room' in Yorkshire

POLISH workers in Yorkshire are sleeping 16 to a room as merciless employment agencies hire them out to firms in the region, the Morning Star can reveal.

Unite is targeting Polish workers for recruitment as it steps up its community-based work, having opened its third Community office in Yorkshire and north-east England yesterday.

“Some of them are appallingly exploited by employment agencies, sleeping 16 to a room, eight at work while eight sleep on the floor,” Doncaster lead volunteer Tom Scott-Chambers told the Star.

“You have got to fight it. They don’t know what to do so we are getting them unionised.”

Doncaster in South Yorkshire is home to a large Polish community. Numbers increased after Poland joined the European Union.

The commitment to the Polish workers is just one part of Unite’s Community initiative in Doncaster.

It was launched in 2012 to offer Unite membership to people not in a workplace, including retired, disabled and unemployed people and students.

Organisers provide advice on benefits and training in community activism, such as organising campaigns against health service cuts and the hated bedroom tax.

Mr Scott-Chambers, who speaks fluent Polish and Russian, added: “When I was young I went to Russia. I went to Eastern Europe and travelled around a lot. I picked the language up.

“With Unite today it’s extremely useful, going round factories translating and getting people unionised.”

Unite Community’s first office in the region opened in Barnsley, a joint effort at the headquarters of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

The second was at opened at the historic Redhill offices of Durham Miners’ Association.

At both, activists are uniting with local campaigners.

Unite regional secretary Karen Reay added: “We will be working with local campaign groups so we can ensure that our members’ voices can be heard and that issues that matter to them are top of the local agenda.”

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