Ashtown attack on migrant workers highlights need for solidarity

Unite BAEM Committee warns Ireland at crossroads as far right seeks to create division

30 January: The Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Committee of trade union Unite, which represents workers throughout the economy, today (Monday) said that the weekend attack on migrant workers in Ashtown highlights the need for trade unionists to not only show solidarity with migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees, but also to campaign for a society characterised by equality and inclusion.

Commenting, the Committee’s Chair, Memet Uludag, said:

“Saturday’s attack on homeless migrant workers in Ashtown is a shocking example of how the hate, fear and misinformation being spread online by far-right actors can and does have real world consequences.  Migrant workers left homeless by the housing crisis were set upon by thugs emboldened by months of fear-mongering and lies.

“This attack was an attack on everything the trade union movement has fought for and is still fighting for.

“Migrants, refugees or asylum seekers did not cause the housing and cost of living crises in Ireland.  On the contrary, it is those in power who have presided over the housing and cost-of-living crises while depressing wages and pensions.  It is those in power who continue to protect the wealthy and the vulture funds.

“History has taught us that today the far right may be attacking migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, but tomorrow they will attack the LGBTQ+ community, women, workers and trade unionists.

“The forces behind Saturday’s attack on migrant workers never stood with workers on picket lines or marched to demand housing for all, but now they pretend to speak for our communities.

“The trade union movement has a proud history of fighting for a better society free from discrimination, hate and racism, and of standing up to the far right.  21st century Ireland can be a place where nobody has to be homeless or waiting for a hospital bed, and where all those seeking refuge can live with dignity.

“We are at a cross-roads.   As trade unionists we must fight for an Ireland for all, just as we fight for better wages, decent pensions and working conditions.

“As trade unionists we stand with those being targeted by the far right.  We urge all workers to reject the misinformation and fear-mongering, and instead to join together in a trade union to address the real issues – from low pay and attacks on workers’ rights, to the housing and healthcare crisis”
, Memet Uludag concluded.

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