Unions & Migrant Organisations’ statement – public sector pay rise

Unions unite with migrant organisations to call out government plan to fund pay rise with higher migrant fees.

Major trade unions – including the BMA, NEU, NASUWT, GMB and PCS – have come together with over 50 migrant organisations, to call out the government’s plan to fund a public sector pay rise through higher NHS and visa fees for migrants.  

A black and white photograph of people on a street with a banner that says Our NHS Stop Charging Migrants
Our NHS – Stop Charging Migrants demonstration

Joint Statement 

As trade unions and migrant organisations, we stand against this Government’s attempts to pit worker against worker. We know that an injury to one is an injury to all.

All workers deserve decent pay, safe working conditions and protections if our bosses seek to take advantage of us. Public sector workers deserve pay rises, but we strongly oppose any decision to fund this by further taxing migrants, by hiking visa costs and NHS fees. This is a blatant attempt to sow division within the labour movement and our communities. 

Increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge by 66% and increasing visa costs will push ever more people into destitution and poverty. The UK already effectively taxes migrants twice for healthcare, and has some of the most extortionate visa fees in Europe – a migrant family of four often has to pay around £50,000 over 10 years for the right to stay. This massive increase is simply unaffordable – it will price workers out of being able to afford a visa and force thousands further into poverty during the cost of living crisis, or out of the country.

Migrant workers are a vital part of our communities and our workforce. They are the backbone of our public services, and our migrant members already face the hostility of the immigration system. No worker should be pushed into poverty, unsustainable debt or homelessness simply because of the papers they hold.

We urge the Government to abandon its plans to increase NHS and visa fees for migrants and meet the pay demands of our public sector workers through progressive taxation which ensures those with the broadest shoulders contribute more to our vital public services. 

Signed by:

  1. British Medical Association 
  2. The GMB 
  3. NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union 
  4. The National Education Union (NEU) 
  5. Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
  6. UCU – University and College Union
  7. Society of Radiologists
  8. Social Workers Union 
  9. Fire Brigades Union (FBU) 
  10. ASLEF 
  11. BFAWU
  12. International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
  13. Asylum Matters
  14. Black Europeans 
  15. Bradford Rape Crisis
  16. CARAG 
  17. CARIS Haringey
  18. Caritas Shrewsbury
  19. Centrala 
  20. Doctors of the World 
  21. Duhra Solicitors
  22. English for Action (EFA) London
  23. Evesham Vale Welcomes Refugees 
  24. Fresh Grassroots Rainbow Community 
  25. Focus on Labour Exploitation: FLEX
  26. Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
  27. Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU)
  28. Haringey Welcome
  29. Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
  30. Kent Refugee Help
  31. Kiran Support services
  32. Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)
  33. Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN)
  34. Leeds Anti-Raids Action
  35. Maternity Action
  36. Maternity Stream, City of Sanctuary UK
  37. Medact
  38. Migrants At Work
  39. Migrant Democracy Project
  40. Migrant Voice
  41. Migrants Organise
  42. Migrants’ Rights Network
  43. Music Action International
  44. Pan-African Workers Association (PAWA)
  45. Paul Hamlyn Foundation 
  46. POMOC (Polish Migrants Organise for Change)
  47. Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS)
  48. Praxis
  49. Project 17
  50. Public Interest Law Centre
  51. RAMA (Refugee, Asylum seeker & Migrant Action)
  52. Refugee and Migrants Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL)
  53. Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Migrant Action (RAMA)
  54. Reunite Families UK
  55. Right to Remain
  56. Runnymede Trust
  57. Seraphus
  58. South London Refugee Association
  59. South Yorkshire Refugee Law & Practice 
  60. The Unity Project
  61. The Voice of Domestic Workers
  62. United impact
  63. We Belong 
  64. Welsh Refugee Council
  65. Women’s Budget Group
  66. Yorkshire Migrants Solidarity Movement
  67. The3million