Friday, February 29, 2008

Against immigration controls

Today the Government introduced a “points system” to restrict migration from outside the EU. Trade unionists should give this “nul points”.

Some in the labour movement may secretly welcome restrictions on immigration, believing that we should prioritise reducing the supply of labour in order to reduce downward pressure on wages.

UNISON policy is a little more advanced. UNISON believes;a) that no worker should be classed as illegal; b) all workers have a right to put a roof over their head and food on the table.

That’s why the Union focuses on organising migrant workers.

When it comes to immigration there are those in the labour movement who understand the progressive position adopted by trade unions such as UNISON and those who don’t.

Mass migration isn’t going away any time soon – and there is no reason why socialists and trade unionists should wish that it would. We don't set ourselves in opposition to workers coming from other countries.

Historically craft unions could try to enhance their bargaining power by restricting the supply of labour - but general unions (which is what we are really) have very limited scope to do this. Even if it were possible for us to lobby succesfully to restrict immigration in order to reduce labour supply and drive up wages, the political consequences of pandering to racism would impose unacceptable long term costs upon our movement.

We need to organise the workers who are here to be organised.

We need to continue to build alliances for justice for migrant workers – but we also need to see the trade unions taking on New Labour’s racist immigration policies in public.

Where is the public opposition from the trade unions to today’s development? Here? Here? Here?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you not you pleased that john Gray has joined CPBML!!!!!!!!!!