24/06/2013 - Migrant Labour: Spinning a Tale


A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says that despite the fall in employment in the recession, migration, especially within the EU, has begun to rise again. They also say that migrants have found it easier to find jobs than the native born.
In a bizarre statement the campaign group Migrant Rights Network said the figures showed that "migration is a dynamic and positive feature of modern economies". As a British Union we have a different perspective. Migrants are often non-unionised and prepared to work for lower wages resulting in their employment rather than the native-born competition, as well as suppressing pay increases
  in many secotors. While they are prepared to work for less migrant labour will inevitably benefit from lower unemployment. The European Union's (EU) policy of a Single Labour Market has been a disaster for workers in countries such as the United Kingdom.
Curb the flow
Solidarity trade union however believes that, rather than see workers competing to undercut each others wages, we should demand from the  Government an increase in the National Minimum Wage to a Living wage and introduce strict limits on the flow of low-skilled migrants. It is unlikely that the ConDem coalition will ever take such steps given that they are in the pockets of big business but local councils and firms should be encouraged to switch to paying a Living wage.

Editorial note: The living wage is currently promoted at £8.55 in London and £7.45 elsewhere. This compares with a national UK minimum wage of £6.19. You can find out more about the living wage here.