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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 06:57 GMT
NI migrant support team launched
Many migrant workers are employed in food processing
Many migrant workers are employed in food processing
A support team for migrant workers in Northern Ireland has been launched by the Amalgamated and Transport General Workers' Union.

It said the aim was to prevent exploitation of foreign workers.

A union "secret weapon" was Polish-born Julian Zielinski who was breaking down language barriers between firms and employees.

He is one of the new organisers employed by the union helping to organise migrant workers around NI.

Julian works in the union's organisation department to recruit Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian and Czech Republic migrants who have moved to NI.

Another member, Brazilian-born Tayra McKee, has been organising the Portuguese migrants working in the meat and food processing industry in Dungannon, County Tyrone.

Our aim is not a recruitment campaign - our aim is to show workers how they can organise themselves at work to get fairness and end exploitation
Jim Quinn

Julian 37, from Dubicuke, in Woj Lublin, moved to Northern Ireland in 2004, after working as a seaman.

"It was important for me to find work. There was no decent work available in Poland, with jobs only offering 200 a month," he said.

He has worked to improve conditions for workers in the areas he has found employment, improve their social lives and help their integration into the Northern Ireland community.

The ATGWU said it was currently concentrating its work on the food processing sector, logistics, low cost airlines and airport contractors.

It hoped to develop another unit in the Republic of Ireland during 2007.

Jim Quinn of the union said: "As a union we have adopted a campaigning stance in those sectors and workers are seeing that we can get results in both the food sector and the other areas we are organising in.

"Our aim is not a recruitment campaign. Our aim is to show workers how they can organise themselves at work to get fairness and end exploitation."

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16 Mar 06 |  Northern Ireland
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10 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland

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