For the past few weeks the issue of what would happen if Poles in Great Britain did not go to work on the 20 August have been widely discussed.
The purpose of organising a strike in the upcoming weeks should, however, be thought through. A strike of Polish community, consisting of almost one million people, is a powerful tool that could paralyse the country’s economy. It should be the last resort, and we are not in the need of it. When in February 2014 a few Polish societies were organising a demonstration against discrimination of Polish people in front of Downing Street, there were substantial reasons for it. An attack on a Polish motorcyclist because he had a Polish flag on his helmet as well as offending remarks made by British politicians regarding Polish citizens. The manifestation, not a strike, had positive results. Anti-Polish attitudes in the media decreased. Hard work of some of Polish societies and organizations, meetings with British politicians, charity work, positive articles in British newspapers as well as exemplary Polish students and employees, all that have influenced the good opinion about Polish people here in the UK. Our minority is one of the better perceived groups, with the highest percentage of employment. We haven’t been taking part in any riots, we respect British law and culture. It takes a lot of time to build such an image and just one unsuitable move can ruin it.
The idea itself, of proving to British people that without Poles the country would have serious problem,s is right. The matter of a strike, perhaps, could be discussed in the future. However, if we were to organise a strike, all Polish organisations and Polish citizens who belong to working unions should be involved. The strike on the 20 August is not ready for that, it doesn’t even have an organizing body. We also do not have any particular reason to organise something like that at present. The situation of Polish people in Great Britain has improved. A strike could have a reverse effect. Polish citizens who decide to take part in the strike could become angry and discouraged that such a small number of Poles got involved and wouldn’t participate in any future events. British people, on the other hand, could perceive us as a group that cannot unite and organise itself.
British Poles offer a better solution. They propose that on the 20 August Polish people in Great Britain donate blood.
Every Pole will be able to take a few hours off from work to give away blood at the nearest blood donor centre. Thanks to that, we will show that Polish people are honourable and reliable and are more concerned with helping others. We could have been protesting but we had decided to give blood instead. We will be sending the same signal but using a much more positive approach. We will show, once again, that there is no reason to complain about Polish people. This is going to be another important step in strengthening British-Polish relationship.
Register to donate blood:
Northern Ireland: http://www.nibts.org/wheretodonate.html