Michael Pollek

Born: 24th February 1954

Reading, UK

Date of interview: 13th July 2006

Map showing where Michael Pollek came from

Ok. How do you see your role within this society?

Well I ... I've got a sense of gratitude to England, specifically for allowing my mother and father to stay here, for allowing, and I know I suppose that sounds silly really but of course if they hadn't let my mother and father stay here I certainly wouldn't have been born here. So I have a multiple, lots of reasons of being grateful for that.

However that said, we have new Ukrainians coming into this country who are for what ever reason, finding it difficult getting work permits etc, there is a subculture appearing where they will become Poles, or they'll become, generally they'll become Poles in order to be able to work here and then send money back home because of the problems that are happening in Ukraine. Now I see my responsibility here to try and actively change that in what limited way I possibly can, certainly within the auspices of the Transport and General Workers Union, not just about Ukrainians, although that would be my specific thing I'd be looking at, but generally the principle of all workers being able to come over here and freely work and contribute to the society that they live in.

I'd like to be able to thank, by that way thank the English people for allowing my Ukrainian family to stay here, in turn get the Ukrainian people to understand their obligation to other Ukrainians and therefore develop that. Not to be in an insular, 'I'm alright Jack, I'm fine, I'm not worried about you.' So my, and that then would develop further on because I'm not a one-trick pony I'm not blinkered its not just the Ukrainians although that's my specific field of interest, that's an accident of my birth. But generally, and of course assist my family, to be able to take a bigger interest in all things Ukrainian.