Refugees and Migrants
Edward lived in Hoxton
Labouring his load
on the neighbouring road
to new arrivals
migrated for survival
from Poland, from Russia
to the holy crush of London
Under the same sky
came together, made ties
meeting in the streets
Tars and bars and beats
tasting gifts and eats
More than metropolitan
In response to the news that the Pope wants to change the words of the Lord's Prayer ...
- after Edward Thomas' Adlestrop
Yes. I remember Little England -
The name, because one squally morn
Of rain, the liner drew up there
Unwonted, for a port in storm
Looks like this, does it, liberation?
Isolated from supplies, routes closed, blown from the skies
Barrel bombs bowled along alleys
Enclaved civilians tweet from their graves, farewells from beneath
Rubble, the stones where their homes used to be
Aleppo cries, crumbles, defeated, they see
Tyranny returning, triumphant, burning
Inhabitants gathered, culled, or running for their lives
Out of the city, fleeing as they wouldn't if they had actually been freed
No, this is not what liberation looks like.
The NHS is not another country
Going to clinic's not a trip abroad
Its purpose is for treating not for hunting
No frontiers from reception to the ward
I have to cross the town not cross the oceans
A hospital's no tourist trap now, is it?
Rather than the needles, stitches, lotions
So many other sites I'd rather visit
Not smuggling drugs nor medicines nor pills in
The staff are healers, they're not border guards
I've nothing to declare except my illness
I don't send postcards, I get Get Well cards
- They treat my sickness not my shade of skin
- Why should I need a passport to get in?
They keep children in containers
Crate them and detain them
Gate them and restrain them
No watering or feeding
The potted, planted seedlings
In readiness for weeding
They'll live but they won't grow
Goaded, loaded, shipped to go
With winter whipping in the snow
It's probably for the best
To centres to be processed
The furthest and the closest
- France - Women trade unionists have been concentrating on increasing women's involvement in the unions, and on campaigning against violence against women. At Gare du Nord railway station, African women cleaners are often sexually assaulted by male bosses. Some men say that it does not matter, that women are making it up, or that they 'have a chip on their shoulder'.
- Italy - There is very good legislation on women's rights - for example on maternity - but the economic and cultural situation means that women are still disadvantaged. Italy has the lowest rate of women's employment in Europe, and needs investment in public services and industries to create jobs for women. As the government cuts welfare services, it relies on women to act as unpaid carers.
- Belgium - In the Port of Antwerp, an agreement has been signed by the union and the employer regarding women's employment on the docks. this emphasises equal recruitment policies rather than quotas. But the employers need challenging to ensure that they abide by the agreement.
- Netherlands - Some men - even some union men - say that women who work on the docks are taking men's jobs. And they say that if you do a 'man's job' then you must go along with 'men's humour' ie. sexist banter. As a minority, women are abused, whether through 'jokes' or touching. The solution is not new laws but the enforcement of existing laws, but the Inspectorate is understaffed. Migrant women workers are taken on in jobs with only a few hours work, and then told that they must give sexual favours to get more work. Women are not confident to complain about abuse, so the union is using organisers from other countries to speak to women in their own language.
- UK - I reported on the ScotRail victory and ongoing fight to defend guards' jobs; the abuse of women cleaners; the impact of ticket office clsures and de-staffing of stations.
- Many countries - A recurring theme in reports from the various countries is that European Union legislation is useful, but that it needs to be monitored and implemented, with sanctions against companies that do not abdie by gender equality policies. Employers find ways around legislation, so legislation is not enough.