The reaction of big business to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith's call for British firms to give British workers a 'chance' of employment, is scandalous. Spokesmen for big business excused their recruitment of migrants by claiming they are the "best people" with a better work ethic and greater skills.
What they didn't say was that they are largely recruited because they are prepared to work for the national minimum wage (NMW) i.e. £5.93. Many manufacturers are employing whole swaths of their workforce on the NMW (and some no doubt on less in the 'black economy') because they increase their profits. For the, often unskilled, migrant it is still better than what they can earn back home. Also due to exchange rates and lower standards of living money sent home goes much further.
Disaster for the British worker
For the British worker however, the result has been a disaster on two levels. First, many jobs have become 'off-limits' for them as migrants are prepared to accept lower wages and poorer working conditions. Many factories are run with non-unionised labour and with relatively 'Victorian' working conditions. British workers won't put up with this but migrants will. Second, as supply has grown i.e. under European Union (EU) labour laws, most citizens of the EU's member states are able to work in the UK without restriction, wages have fallen. Thus all workers, British or migrant, have seen their wages suppressed or even cut.
Develop a social conscience
Solidarity General Secretary, Patrick Harrington said "Sadly, British companies are increasingly forgetting their social responsibilities. Although they understandly wish to make a profit for themselves or their shareholders they forget that many of their consumers are British. Many of us are offended when jobs are exported overseas e.g. call centres or cheap labour imported. These firms have also benefited from Government Grants and tax kick-backs which are funded by the British taxpayer. It is time British firms developed a 'social conscience' and employed more home grown workers and, if concerned with skill levels, re-introduce apprenticeships."
Although many blame the last Labour Government for the problem, under the latest Coalition Government over half of the new jobs have still gone to migrants. They recently exempted certain industries from their proposed capping of migrants and under EU law can't even stem the tide of migrants from member countries!
Solidarity believes that whilst we remain part of the EU we must insist that there are caps upon migrant labour within the EU especially from Eastern Europe. Solidarity also suggests that intra-company transfers be strictly limited, that no-one be allowed to take work that could be carried out by British workers (remember the Total Lindsey Refinery strikes). Long term we must invest in home grown students to meet skill needs.
Contact: Solidarity General Secretary, Patrick Harrington on 07794 486858 or firstname.lastname@example.org & http://www.solidaritytradeunion.org
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