Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 February 2004

EU Enlargement Brings Benefits For The Bosses

THE NEW Labour government says it will be 'regulating' the number of migrant workers who are allowed to come to Britain from the ten countries, mainly in Eastern Europe, which will be joining the European Union on 1 May.

Home Secretary David Blunkett has announced that all migrant workers from the East European accession states will have to register with the government and will not be entitled to claim unemployment benefits until they have worked continuously for a year in the UK.

This new 'tough' talk is a knee-jerk reaction because of a fear of the electoral consequences, in a situation where the right-wing press has hysterically warned of 'swarms' of East Europeans 'flooding' into the UK as 'benefit tourists'. Against a background of New Labour's constant cuts in the welfare state, this has inevitably created fears amongst wide sections of the population.

The government is threatening to deport migrants who fail to find work to prevent them claiming benefits, despite criticism from immigration experts. Keith Best, the chief executive of the immigration advisory service, has pointed out that new migrants from Eastern Europe will already be excluded from benefits under the existing rules. The government says it only expects that 12,000 to 13,000 people will come to the UK each year but will restrict numbers if more come in.

Cheap labour

DESPITE MAKING it harder for East European workers to claim benefits, Blair and Blunkett want to encourage migrant workers as cheap labour for the bosses.

Already many thousands of workers from Eastern Europe are living and working in the UK. They are often doing jobs that local people won't. For example, around 30,000 people came last year under a special scheme to provide seasonal work for agriculture. Up to 10% of the 100,000 building workers in the UK are also thought to come from Eastern Europe.

While allowing migrant workers in through legal channels, where they have some rights, is much better than abandoning them to people-traffickers (as the Morecombe cockle-pickers were) they will still be expected to do the lowest paid most back-breaking work.

Benefit system

THE GOVERNMENT'S insistence that migrants from the accession states must not claim benefits has gained an echo among many people in the UK, painfully aware of how difficult it is now for people to claim the miserable amount of benefits they are entitled to.

However, the problems in the benefits system are not due to pressure from the number of people claiming unemployment benefits, which (at under 900,000) is at its lowest level since 1975. For the last 25 years the bosses and their representatives in government (the Tories and now New Labour) have carried out ruthless attacks against the working class. Their aim is to maximise their profits by making us work harder and longer for less, and destroying the 'expensive' welfare state.

New Labour's attempts to deny benefits to migrant workers are aimed at creating a section of the workforce who will be forced to take any job, at any wage, because they have no other option. If New Labour and the bosses can get away with it, they will use this most exploited section of workers to drive down wages and conditions for everyone else.

Migration to Britain is going to continue. The restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe has meant massively increased poverty. While the vast majority of Eastern Europeans have no interest in coming to Britain - in a situation when unemployment is now 36% in parts of Poland and there have been food riots in Slovakia - it is inevitable that some will want to try and improve their lot by working abroad. Only a trade union movement prepared to unite migrants and existing workers and organising to fight for the rights of both can prevent the bosses getting their way.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 28 February 2004:

Global Warning

"We'll protect our homes"

EU Enlargement Brings Benefits For The Bosses

Workers Must Fight Attacks On Democratic Rights

University strike: Why Cardiff closed down

Back To The Future

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Fighting The Bosses And The BNP

When Workers Beat The Heath Government

Gershon's "Cunning Plan" For The Public Sector

International socialist news and analysis

World Currencies - Turbulent Times Ahead?

Netherlands: Government Scapegoats Asylum Seekers

Pakistan: Workers Fight Musharraf's Regime


Home   |   The Socialist 28 February 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

European Union:

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleGlobal finance: Are those storm clouds ahead?

triangleSocialist Party Congress 2017 reports

triangleUSA: We need mass resistance to Trump and a new party of the 99%


triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangleTories on the brink - kick them out!


triangleTwo in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

triangleWaltham Forest Universal Credit protest

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test


triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

Migrant workers:

triangleNew play celebrates Grunwick strike


triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Populism in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe:

triangleSchool spend is behind eastern Europe

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Unite protest against blacklisting



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

More ...

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice