Woman with her face painted with thePolish
Woman with her face painted with the Polish and English flags at an England vs Poland football match Getty

The Polish community in the UK is to go on strike and demonstrate at Westminster while others will give blood in order to show how much the country relies on them. More than 1,000 Polish workers are to demonstrate outside Parliament, while 2,300 declared their support for a Facebook and Twitter campaign calling for them to give blood at their nearest NHS clinics.

George Byczynski of the British Poles Initiative organised the blood giving campaign on Twitter under the #polishblood hashtag. He said giving blood would be a more positive way to show the Polish community's contribution to the UK than a strike.

"We came up with the idea that we would ask Polish people to donate blood instead. We know the NHS needs 200,000 donors this year, so we hit on the idea that we could get 10,000 or more migrants to help. Now blood donor centre are fully booked up because of this initiative," Byczynski told the Guardian, pointing out the campaign had been a success.

The protests come after Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of using racist language when he described immigrants in Calais attempting to enter the UK illegally as "swarms", while support for the anti-immigrant Ukip party surging in recent years.

Editor Tomasz Kowalski, of the Polish Express newspaper, said he organised the strike after hearing of a Polish woman who was sacked after speaking Polish in the workplace. "Maybe this doesn't happen every day to everyone, but we have information from our readers that there is something wrong with the treatment of Poles in the UK," he told Politico.

According to the Office of National Statistics, Poles make up the second largest immigrant group in the UK after Indians, with many entering the country when Poland joined the EU in 2004.