Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/336/5651

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%

EU:

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

triangleAnti-austerity opposition needed to seize on Tories' weakness

triangleTories 'flouting duty' on poison air, says UN

Benefits:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleMajor attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Migrant workers:

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

Europe:

triangleThe end of the Tories?

Eastern Europe:

triangleSchool spend is behind eastern Europe

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2