UNISON Northern Ireland

Collective Bargaining with Employers

Since the UK EU referendum result in June 2016, EU workers and their families are worried about their long-term life in post-Brexit UK. This is an important issue because the current status of EU citizens in the UK is based on EU treaty rights, something that will cease to apply from the first day of the UK exiting the EU in March 2019. Up until then the government has said there will be no change in their status or right to stay and work.
In May 2017 the EU1 said, because of the number of people directly affected and the seriousness of the consequences of the withdrawal for them, it would prioritise seeking an agreement on the status and rights of the three million EU citizens and their families in the UK and of the 1.2 million UK citizens and their families in the 27 EU member states.
This is a guide to help UNISON activists assist UNISON members from the EU. What is UNISON’s campaign to organise, support and negotiate for EU workers? EU workers in the UK make a valuable contribution to public services, particularly in health and social care. Current estimates of EU nationals working in key public services are:
• 58,000 in the NHS
• 90,000 (7%) in adult social care
• one fifth of academic staff at UK universities are from a country in the EU
• 12,490 non-academic staff working at UK universities.
UNISON has an estimated 70,000 EU members. Currently both public service employers and employees are uncertain about what the impact of the UK decision to leave the EU will be.
UNISON is campaigning for the immediate and unilateral ‘right to remain’ for existing EU workers to stop this uncertainty and the anxiety this causes. This can have a negative effect on morale, motivation, wellbeing and retention - which could impact on the quality of care and support delivered.