How do migrant workers successfully enact labour and social rights? ‘Respekt’, a local network established by Polish live-in care workers in Basel, Switzerland, challenges widespread assumptions held by unions.
They appeared suddenly, had voices and faces: Polish women care workers tending elderly persons in Switzerland in what is a 24-hour job. At the 2014 May Day march in Basel, Switzerland, they took centre stage at the ‘expense’ of the established labour unions. Wearing self-made scarfs in the red and white colours of the Polish flag, they carried a large banner with the slogan “No more exploitation – We demand rights and respect!” Other banners read “A six hour salary for a 24-hour job?! Not on our watch!” “A six hour salary for a 24-hour job?! Not on our watch!”And as the demonstrators reached the local parliament, Bozena Domanska, a Polish care worker, climbed on stage and started to speak about her work: