06 February 2009

Workers strike over UK immigration

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Talks regarding the levels of British immigration escalated at the start of this week into protesting strikes, reports the Press and Journal.

Workers in Britain are complaining that the government's firm resolution to ensure "British jobs for British workers" is not being enforced, and the constant influx of migrants is leaving British workers unemployed or not trained up to improve their skill base and take on better positions.

The issue surrounding overseas firms bringing an entire existing workforce with them on a UK work permit has been the focus this week, and talks to dispute the recruitment of hundreds of Italian and Portuguese workers at Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire also started this week.

North Killingholme also hosted a protest of hundreds of workers, which was followed by a staged walkout from contract workers at Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, Heysham nuclear power station in Lancashire, and Staythorpe power station in Nottingham-shire, while workers in Wales staged yet another follow-up walkout in protest.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson told the House of Lords, "We are determined to see robust enforcement of the employment rights legislated for by this parliament, and fair and proper application of the European rules which govern the operation of companies throughout the EU and the mobility of labour which has always been an intrinsic part of membership of the EU and supported by successive British Governments."

Think-tank IPPR has implored the government to think of the repercussions of protecting jobs from EU workers and saving them for British workers, when approximately 1.5million British workers are working abroad in Europe.

"Amid the controversy over European workers taking jobs, we must acknowledge that it works both ways.  Between 1million and 1.5million Brits who are living in European Union countries are likely to be taking advantage of the open labour market and earning their living abroad," Tim Finch of the IPPR migration team said.

He believes any action against EU workers in Britain would start an unfortunate state of reciprocity whereby British workers would lose their jobs abroad and would further add to the poor state of the UK economy.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

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