Migrants plan day of action to celebrate role in British society

One Day Without Us set to include labour boycott to protest against rising post-Brexit xenophobia

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The Independent Online

Migrant workers and their supporters are planning a day of action to highlight their role in the UK and celebrate the contribution they make to British life.

The event, called One Day Without Us, is set to include a labour boycott to highlight the importance of migrants to the country's workforce.

Organiser Matt Carr urged migrants and their supporters take part in the day of action, scheduled for 20 February 2017.

He said he decided to set up the event was due to concerns about worsening attitudes to migrants within the UK following the referendum vote to leave the European Union in June.

“We want to make this an inclusive event," Mr Carr told The Guardian. 

We realise that because of the legal constraints on striking, many workers will not be able to take formal strike action. However, they can choose to support this event simply by taking the day off work.”

He said he was surprised the event had gathered momentum so quickly. Despite initially starting life in a closed Facebook group, Mr Carr said there were now about 6,000 people involved.

The day of action, scheduled to coincide with the UN’s World Day of Social Justice, is based on a similar events that have taken place in both the US and Italy in recent years. 

The aim is to highlight the essential work migrants do in key sectors of the national economy, including the NHS. The organisers say a day without migrant labour will underline just how much the UK would struggle without their contribution.

Mr Carr said he was hopeful that employers who relied on migrant labour would support the action and shut their businesses for the day.

“Since Brexit we have seen levels of xenophobia and racism that have been increasingly legitimised," he said.

"We want to make a bold and powerful statement and give migrants an opportunity to express themselves."