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Poles threaten UK strike action

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Poles threaten UK strike action

Polish workers in the UK are reportedly considering a one-day strike on 20 August.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that an internet-driven campaign supported by the Super Express Polish newspaper in the UK wants to call an unofficial strike “to demonstrate [Poles’] value to the British economy.”

The UK’s construction, food and health care sectors would be hardes hit and supporters of the plan are calling on other groups of immigrant workers to join them.

Online polling suggests support could be strong, the Telegraph notes.

The idea reportedly came from a post on a Polish expat internet forum by a British-based Pole frustrated at anti-immigrant rhetoric in the UK.

“Once in America in the 1980s immigrants didn’t go to work for just one day,” she wrote. “The result? It stopped everything: the metro, communications, cafés. And it stopped the moaning. “Maybe now is the time for us.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” Tomasz Kowalski, editor of Polish Express a UK-based Polish-language news and community website, told the Telegraph. “It’s not about anger, it’s just a way to show people in the UK that immigrants are an important part of Britain.

An online poll on the website of Polish Express showed that 70 percent of those polled favoured a strike, while just 20 percent considered it a bad idea.

About 500,000 Poles are registered as living in the UK, with the actual number thought to be higher.

Since Poland joined the EU in 2004, the UK has seen a large influx of immigrants from the country, as well as from the Baltic States and other Central and Eastern European countries. The British government has proposed curbing immigrants' access to social benefits in the UK, among other measures that would - it argues - ease the welfare bill.

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