The Tory Party made great play about how it was going to deal with two related public concerns in the last General Election: the flow of cheap labour into the UK and the net increase in immigration.
They could have also promised to address the flow of jobs out of the UK to cheap labour economies.Of course that would have struck at the heart of multinational capital and at some of their donors!
The Tory solution was an 'immigration cap' which would reduce net migration as well as 'protect' jobs from migrant labour. Yet the cap seems to be a 'dead duck' even before it is implemented.
First, as Chris Humphries (CO of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills) has said, limiting the number of people from outside Europe entering the country to work would not tackle the jobs problem. The vast majority of migrant workers arriving in the UK were from Europe, which the Government was powerless to do anything about. This group also typically ended up in lower-wage jobs, competing directly with the most vulnerable British workers.
The Government has also caved into the Multinationals on 'intra-company transfers' because the latter say a limit would block the hiring of key talent. Of course, it could be that they sometimes prefer to import cheap labour rather than export their jobs to cheap labour economies. If there is a genuine shortage of British workers in the so-called specialist fields it highlights the paucity of UK training in such fields.
Second, the other promise to dramatically reduce net migration looks likely to fail too as numbers are either due to EU migrants which can't be stopped according to EU rules or non-EU migrants entering the UK as students or relatives of existing migrants which would be an about turn in policy.
Solidarity suggests that whilst we remain part of the EU we must insistthat there are caps upon migrant labour within the EU especially from Eastern Europe. This was accepted practise towards the 'new' accession states yet the previous UK Government chose to pass on that right.
Solidarity also suggests that intra-company transfers be strictly limited, that no-one be allowed in whose work could be carried by British workers (remember the Total Lindsey Refinery strikes) and long term we must invest in home grown students to meet skill needs not go for a 'quick fix' by importing such specialists.
Of course the ConDem Coalition could follow these suggestions but we won't be holding our breath! The truth is that they are in the pockets of the multinational corporations and care nothing for the British worker!
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