Our Polish members – in their own words

Three of UNISON’s Polish migrant members share their stories and their thoughts on a post Brexit Britain

The future of European Union nationals living and working in the UK is currently centre stage of the increasingly fractious Brexit negotiations.

EU leaders have called on prime minister Theresa May to provide immediate guarantees to its citizens living in Britain.

Ms May wants future trade talks to be conducted at the same time as the UK’s exit arrangements.

And the two sides are failing to agree on these fundamental issues before detailed talks have even began.

For UNISON’s 67,000 EU migrant members, such protracted disputes only add to the uncertainly and strain they’ve been feeling ever since the EU referendum 10 months ago.

These members provide an essential contribution to the running of UK public services, such as health and social care.

At the UNISON health conference earlier this month, Roz Norman, chair of the health service group executive committee, told delegates: “The government’s failure to guarantee the right to remain for our EU colleagues – who work tirelessly, day in and day out, to keep our NHS afloat – is nothing less than a disgrace.”

UNISON’s members are among more than three million EU citizens living in the UK, who are desperate to know where they stand.

Earlier this year the importance of the issue was demonstrated when hundreds of EU citizens took part in a Westminster lobby of MPs, in part organised by UNISON.

That day, three of UNISON’s Polish migrant members shared their experiences with the union.

NHS workers Joanna Dziewiz and Grazyna Rutkowska sat down with college administrator Izabela Lovell to speak about the lives they’ve made for themselves in Britain, their pride in working in the public sector, and how they have been made to feel since the EU referendum.