Unite members have welcomed the launch of the union’s Brexit helpline for EU members, as uncertainty around the Tories botched handling of the process continues to grow.
The helpline, launched on January 2, provides Unite members who are concerned about Brexit and what effect it will have on their right to live and work in the UK with advice on their legal options.
Unite member Alexandr Choumah, who works at K&N Filters said, “The helpline will definitely be very useful for members. Many of my EU colleagues are worried about their position here after Brexit and of course we have no idea what’s going to happen.
“It’s a relief to know that the union has set something up specifically to help with this issue.”
The helpline also received praise from Premier Inn and Unite member Nathlaie Bem-Miriam.
She said, “As EU citizens we’ve been left in a real limbo. So it’s good that Unite is reaching out to us, offering assistance and doing everything it can to answer questions, provide information and sign post us to the right places.”
On Twitter, Unite branch organiser Matt O’Dwyer said the helpline is “much needed”.
He tweeted, “Spoke to a member from an EU country this morning about their case, and how they felt the atmosphere at their employer has become increasingly hostile since Brexit. This helpline is much needed.”
Unite members seeking assistance will need to call the dedicated helpline number on 0333 323 1291 (calls charged at local rates). Once it has been confirmed that they are a Unite member they will then be transferred to one of Unite legal services’ immigration experts.
While the government’s disastrous handling of the Brexit process fails to deliver any real clarity for EU nationals working in the UK, there a certain steps that can be taken in anticipation and Unite legal services are providing the helpline to assist members with this.
Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary for legal services said, “Unite has established this vitally needed service for our members who have been left increasingly confused and distressed as a result of the chaos caused by the government’s lack of preparation for Brexit.
“Migrant workers who are contributing to the UK’s prosperity and in key services like our NHS are being forced to scrabble around piecing together information about whether or not they can continue to work in the UK.
“The government’s treatment of migrant workers, many of whom now feel that they are no longer welcome in the UK is nothing short of disgraceful,” he added.
“Unite’s helpline is designed to cut through the government’s indifference and inaction by providing the clear and concise information that our members who are originally from outside the UK desperately need.”