Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Brexit is about controlling the labour supply


Go to any Northern English mill town and start asking the older people when the first Pakistanis arrived and it won't take you long before someone starts giving you chapter and verse. They will probably also tell you which company shipped the newcomers into the town and by how much they cut the wages.

Let me give you an example of this. I lived in Nelson, Lancashire between 2010 and 2013, and more than one neighbour was only too happy to tell me that a company called Smith and Nephew brought the first group of Pakistanis in to work the night shift at the company's mill. In those days the going rate for an unskilled night worker in a mill was £7.00 a week, so Smith and Nephew paid its new workers £6.00 every week.

Needless to say, the people back then were none too happy at that state of affairs, and that led to union protests. The new workers were quickly signed up to the union, and the Labour government then stepped in towards the end of the 1960s and brought in the first Race Relations Act which made it illegal to pay differential rates on the basis of race. It was a perfect example of Labour, the unions, and ordinary working people joining together to foil management's wickedness.

Today we live in a world of hire and fire where management scum do not need to worry about agreed rates of pay because the bastards can pay whatever they like, so long as it is on or above minimum wage. You might say that getting a job that is much above minimum wage is like finding rocking horse shit in the street, but that's not the point.

The point is that the idea that immigration is good for Britain is nonsense. It is certainly good for the employers who get the cheap labour. It is good for the middle class who love immigration because it gives them an army of cheap plumbers and nannies. They also love the newcomers because it gives them a chance to patronise the poor, benighted dusky masses, whilst at the same time encouraging their sense of superiority towards us, the poor bloody working class, who they can then condemn as evil racists. Self interest combined with self righteousness: that's the middle class all over for you.

To make matters worse, the simple economic fact that an oversupply of labour keeps the price of that labour low also acts to depress pay rates that are slightly above the minimum. Management can employ semi-skilled people at low rates of pay so long as they offer a rate that is a few pennies above what the people below them are getting. Even skilled workers, such as lorry drivers who used to be very well paid, are now finding that the influx of foreign workers is acting to keep their take home pay low.

By voting to leave the European Union on the 23 June 2016 the ordinary people of this country will send a signal to the employers and those who spend a lifetime with their noses jammed up the ring pieces of those employers. The signal will be heard loud and clear by those people who gloat at our poverty, but more importantly even than that is the fact that it will almost certainly have an effect on the scab labourers who are thinking about coming to Britain to dance to management's tune for crap wages and even crappier conditions.

The message to them is that the working people of Britain are no longer prepared to tolerate the mixture as before. By the simple act of voting to leave the European Union the word will go out that our country is no longer a safe haven for those who want to cut our wages. It is not too fanciful to speculate that within weeks of the vote to leave having been registered, the supply of cheap labour from Eastern Europe will start to dry up.

Forget changing the law to restrict the entry of scab labour, forget rebuilding the strong unions that we once had, or the Labour Party that we once had to to speak for us.

Forget all that for the moment and concentrate on the notion that if foreign labour ceases to flood into the country then almost by definition your wages will start to rise. If there is no longer a reserve army of unemployed and underemployed people then management scum will have to start offering better wages to you and to people like you. They may hate you as much as you hate them, but they are not stupid and they need someone to actually do the bastard work that creates the wealth that they then skim off and enjoy. That someone could be you, with for the first time in your life, a decent bloody wage packet burning a hole in your pocket.

I have no doubt that if you repeat this argument, that some clever bugger will come along and tell you that the management will take their companies elsewhere. To be honest, that may be true, but we won't know whether it is true or not until after we have voted to give the two-fingered salute to the European Union.

What is true, and what cannot be denied, is the fact that you spend your lives going from one crappy job to another, with long periods on the social in between. Those crappy jobs are often via an agency, so really, can anyone honestly say that those crappy jobs are worth defending?

Think about it for a moment. Can your life be any worse than it is? Yes, independence is a gamble, of course it is, but what is the worst that can happen to you if the gamble fails? That you might lose your shitty job, for your shitty wage? You are probably going to lose that job anyway, sooner rather than later. The company will tell the agency that they don't need as many workers next week, and you will get a text message on your mobile 'phone telling you to go and sign on for a bit until something else that is equally shitty turns up for you.

Independence is a gamble, but it is a gamble worth taking because not all the jobs will go. The ones that remain will have to start paying better wages for the simple reason that fewer and fewer people will be willing to work for next to nothing.

Just leaving the European Union will lead to that end.

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