Minister backs rights for Portuguese workers in UK

Vulnerable
workers who are being coerced into signing away their employment rights have
been given a boost by employment minister Gerry Sutcliffe.

The
DTI – working with the Foreign Office, Citizens Advice, the TUC and the
Portuguese authorities – is launching an employment rights advice leaflet for
Portuguese nationals coming to work in the UK.

Portuguese
workers are frequently recruited by agencies in Portugal for jobs in the
agricultural and service sectors in the UK, but usually arrive with little or
no knowledge of their employment rights.

They
are often coerced or duped into signing away their rights, and do no know where
to get help when badly treated.

"Portuguese
nationals are being deliberately misled into thinking they will be illegal
workers in the UK. We are taking a ‘know before you go’ approach, distributing
this information in Portugal as well as across the UK," said Sutcliffe.

The
leaflet includes advice on agreeing an appropriate contract before leaving
Portugal, and information on UK employment rights, including legal
requirements, the minimum wage and sources of support and advice.

By Michael Millar

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