Glasgow called to take part in nationwide migrant strike

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Credit: One Day Without Us

Osama Abou-Zeid
Writer

Migrant workers across the UK are planning a 24-hour labour boycott on 20 February 2017 in order to highlight the contribution they make to British society.

Non-migrants who support the initiative have also been asked to take part in the strike named “One Day Without Us”.

Over a fifth of Glasgow University’s student body is made up of international students, and the number of people living in Glasgow who were born outside of the UK is currently estimated to stand at 86,000.

The strike, taking place on the UN World Day of Social Justice, is being organized by writer and journalist Matthew Carr, who describes it as “a peaceful mass protest, unfolding simultaneously in towns, cities, communities and workplaces across the country”.

He says that the strike is intended “to demonstrate the contribution that immigrants [make] in societies that [are] increasingly hostile to their presence”.

An organizer of the event stated that it could include “doctors, nurses, care home workers, construction workers, students, fruit pickers, taxi drivers and so many others”.

Carr decided to take action in response to what he perceived to be an increase of xenophobia in the UK following the EU referendum result in June. He stated on the event’s Facebook page that “as a consequence of the June referendum result, xenophobic and racist attitudes previously lurking on the political fringes have erupted into the mainstream”.

Initially proposed by Carr in a Facebook post, the idea of a strike soon went viral, with discussions centred around the protest emerging within a few days and at least fifteen groups forming to support the initiative within a week. Since then, over 3,000 people have said that they will be participating on the event’s Facebook page.

Carr has emphasized the universal nature of the strike, arguing that “all of us share the same opposition to the dangerous social forces that now cast a shadow over our collective future.

“For one day, we are inviting immigrants and their British supporters to absent themselves from the activities they normally do.

“To close their restaurants and businesses, leave classes, universities, and workplaces, and demonstrate by their absence what they have created, what they have given to British society and how essential and valuable they are.”

The strike is said to have been inspired by similar events such as the “One Day Without Immigrants” protest in the US in 2006 and a similar protest in Italy in 2010, both of which featured a 24-hour labour boycott.