Do you know what the minimum wage is in the UK? Can you decipher a pay slip?
Last month, New Europeans organised a free employment workshop together with the East European Advice Centre, helping newly arrived Poles to better understand their employment rights in the UK.
The event was held at the buzzing Polish Social and Cultural Association centre in Hammersmith and was well attended.
Kasia Zagrodneczek from EEAC delivered the workshop in Polish, which covered areas such as basic employment rights, how tax works if you are self-employed and what to do if you are being harassed at work.
Many mobile EU citizens do not know what to expect in terms of thier rights at work and few have expreince of employment law. Very often they find themselves working in sectrors where trade union membership is low.
Mobile EU citizens are easily exploited at work. Use of zero hours and self employed contracts is widespread. These are some of the findings that came out of our Community Voices report that we carried out together with Volunteering Matters last year.
We heard of people paying significant sums, coming to the UK thinking they had a job and accommodation waiting, only to arrive at the airport to discover no one to meet them. They have been scammed, with no work and no job.
There is a need to ensure that mobile EU citizens understand their rights and entitlements and understand how local services work and can be accessed. Talking to one of the attendees of the workshop afterwards she said
I think [these sessions] are very needed. There should be many more of them. We work without knowing our rights and employers exploit this fact to our disadvantage.
For Polish workers, there are some excellent resources available, all in the Polish language.
New Europeans are about to launch our much anticipated The Big European Citizens' Survival Guide. It has already been translated into Bulgarian, and many more Europeans language translations will follow, including into Polish.
We will keep reaching out to new Europeans in London this spring by organising more workshops in other European languages.
If you are interested in partnering with us, or want to suggest a workshop topic, get in touch!