Thursday, February 04, 2010

Labour MP - "British workers for all major construction contracts"

Interesting report at leftie blog The Commune on a construction workers demo today :

The protests at the Alsthom office, Peter Mandelson’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Houses of Parliament’s Old Palace Yard were attended by about 100 people, most of whom were unemployed construction workers from power stations in the Midlands and the North. The demo was organised by the GMB after an audit proving that at the Staythorpe power station site in Nottinghamshire, migrant workers were being paid only 500 euros a month – i.e. 1300 euros a month below the industry rate.
This doesn't sound kosher - or indeed halal to me. 500 euros a month is way below UK minimum wage - or does it not apply to people under the Posted Workers Directive ( Wikipedia says it does apply, but gives no citation) ?

I digress.

The union’s placards demanded equal pay for all, and attacked undercutting which meant the subcontractor Somi preferred to use foreign labour rather than local unemployed workers, since it could do so more cheaply and undermine the industry agreement. Speakers at the closing rally repeatedly and clearly expressed solidarity with the Portuguese, Italian, Polish and Greek workers who were being underpaid and demanded that they be paid the industry rate.
Blogger David Broder has a problem here. As a good Marxist internationalist the idea of a nation having interests of its own is self-evidently ridiculous. There is only class and class struggle.

Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. As others far to the left of me have said, a glut of labour lowers wages, and a glut of imported labour lowers indigenous wages. In another Labour MP, Jon Cruddas' words :

“the government tacitly used immigration to help forge the preferred flexible North American labour market. In the service sector, construction and civil engineering, for example, immigration has been used as an informal reserve army of cheap labour. People see this at their workplace, feel it in their pocket and see it in their community - and therefore perceive it as a critical component of their own relative impoverishment.

Objectively, the social wage of many of my constituents is in decline. House prices rise inexorably, and public service improvements fail to match local population expansion. At work, their conditions, in real terms, are in decline through the unregulated use of cheap migrant labour.

Migrant labour is the axis of our whole domestic agenda.

Now there's a lot of PC self-deception here - or possibly cynicism, in the demo speakers' "solidarity with the Portuguese, Italian, Polish and Greek workers who were being underpaid".

"whereas the Daily Star had quoted an Amicus/Unite shop steward to the effect that “All we want for Brit workers is a fair crack of the whip to have first preference on jobs”, and at yesterday’s Cadbury demo Unite’s Jack Dromey had commented that “Our fear is that the Kraft takeover is not in the national interest”, most speakers at the Old Palace Yard rally steered well clear of such sentiments."

Because the speakers - and the workers - know quite well that if the imported workers were paid UK wages, there would no longer be any incentive to import them, cheapness being their USP. In effect, if not in form, the call for "the industry rate" is the call of 'British Jobs For British Workers'. It's just the call that dare not speak its name.

Save for one champion. I know little about John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, a solidly working class constituency covering what was once the Nottinghamshire coalfield. Emboldening is mine.

However, while most speakers stressed that the struggle was over the industry agreement and agencies’ monopoly of recruitment, the New Labour MP John Mann injected his own special venom into proceedings. Mann “had no problem” with ‘British jobs for British workers’ and stressed that there was plenty of land in his constituency to build more power stations. He argued against employing migrant workers who supposedly “don’t pay tax towards the NHS” and put British workers on Jobseekers’ Allowance, decrying this as ‘bad economics’ for Britain.
What ? Here we have the grotesque sight of a Labour MP - a Labour MP, mind you, suggesting that it's bad for Brits to be unemployed while migrants work ? What is the world coming to ?

With an eye on the upcoming General Election, Mann announced that he would be tabling a motion in Parliament to the effect that all major construction projects are carried out by British workers: if anyone had a problem with that, he assured us, he had the “100% backing of all 79,000 men women and children” in his constituency.
I'll keep an eye open for that. He's got an enormous majority - are the BNP giving him a hard time, or his constituents, or both ? Could it be that he's sincere ? Seems to have taken him a long time - he's been an MP for nine years.

While what Mann had said was at odds with the general themes of the rally, he received enthusiastic applause, more than anyone except Hicks’ militant class struggle speech. Whitehurst and Kenny’s speeches were several times interrupted by unemployed workers asking what precisely the union was going to do about the situation, which has left many without work for as long as 9 months. Quite. It seemed as though, just like Hicks’ call for solidarity action and fighting rather than lying down, Mann’s overt and defiant nationalism might also perhaps have appealed to a sense of frustration at the lack of progress made by the GMB and Unite over the last year.
In other words, the workers are noticing that the boilerplate union rhetoric is long on words, short on jobs and wages. They're noticing that :

"the moral and political objections to undercutting "our own people" (a phrase which immediately brands the utterer with the indelible scar of racism) have been totally marginalised and discredited (in this context, rendered almost unsayable - LT). The trades unions, which instinctively understood the objections to cheap 'scab' (non-unionised) labour, now welcome the undercutting of an entire working class."

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'll be keeping an interested eye on Mr Mann.


AgainsTTheWall said...

With an eye on the upcoming General Election...

Say no more!

Anonymous said...

These workers are basically middle class. Most would be home owners, with good cars etc.

It is about time some proper journalism was done on this issue, but who will do it?

Edwin Greenwood said...

"In other words, the workers are noticing that the boilerplate union rhetoric is long on words, short on jobs and wages."

That's been the case for many a year. I recall the response of my own dear trades union about a decade ago when my then employer was thinking about outsourcing call-centre work to India.

The union represented the managers in the existing call centres, all located in work-hungry post-industrial towns across the UK. Clearly their first responsibility was to these people.

However, the work would be going to deserving Brown people in the "Third World", which appealed to the union's internationalist sensibilities.

The squirming was exquisite. I do wish I had kept the issue of the union journal in which an EC member tried to justify the union's glorious inaction. I doubt if the redundant workers in the UK found the situation particularly entertaining, though.

Sgt Troy said...

Excellent. this blog gets beter and better

It illustrates perfectly one side of the perfidious offensive against our nation - we are being attacked on the other flank by slash and burn capitalists

Whilst the hallmark of the freebooters is greed, that of the Reds is mentalist stupidity, they're traitors all of course. If and when the rage and despair is channeled into a movement for national rebirth those traitors not subjected to strong law should surely be exiled. They are citizens of the world so they can go and live there, the right to live in our country will be forfeit ie

"Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Organiser for Engineering Construction Workers, specifically attacked British chauvinism"

At one of the wildcat demos last year some commie stop steward screamed at our people that they were "racist scum", he apparently only narrowly escaped physical injury.

The left betrayal is encapsulated in the slogan "freedom of capital, freedom of labour". Of course they don't want freedom of capital, indeed it is disasterous to our interests, but they use it as a justification for the equally disasterous paradise of diversity

I heard on Radio 4 this morning, in the context of rising anti-semitic attacks, a distressing incident where a young schoolgirl, the only Jewish girl in the class apparently, was harangued and death threats made to her, 20 of her "classmates" chanting to "death to......". Must be evil fascists responsible presumably.

Recently the ethnic cleansing of an English family has come to my attention. These are the circumstances. The family, who have a severely disabled daughter, live in a very highly enriched area. They reside in a small close which was apparently purpose built as an exercise in "community cohesion" . There is in fact a blue plaque on their house celebrating the opening of this socially engineered paradise by a Nulab goon minister/ MP. The house is actually rather fit for purpose, which is more than you can say for Nulab; indeed it boasts 4 bedrooms, large famillies for the use of - and so highly desirable and no doubt desired by the "community".

The family has suffered broken windows, superglued locks and missile assault when they venture out - pieces of wood and bottles. So upset and fearful are they that they are now living temporarily in an extremely grotty flat in a relatively unenriched neighbourhood, the kind of area the authorities have not seen fit to prioritise for some reason.

They are pleading with the "social" to transfer them permanently, though how permanent it will be is questionble - tents are already visible in the area.

Middle class liberals know nothing of this, and it is outrageous because if it is happening to anyone, it should be happening to them. For the left though the incidents I have described do not compute, so they can just go on re-fighting the last war, a stupidity which is generally held against Generals

Btw - the police aren't interested in the ethnic cleansing case, it's the wrong sort of people on the receiving end

Sgt Troy said...

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'll be keeping an interested eye on Mr Mann."

Well there's Field as well, but surely as regards Mann one swallow does not make a summer, at the fag end of this rancid administration

It is often the case that Labour candidates are centrally imposed.

How can somebody like the creepy MacShane conceivably be a legitimate representative for Rotherham?

Having said that it is noteworthy that Bassetlaw is apparently still almost entirely indigenous

You get more solidarity from a pack of hyenas than from our glorious capital city

Tim Worstall said...

Minimum wages apply to workers under the Posted Workers Directive, yes.

Union agreements and industry minimum wage agreements and so on do not.

Anonymous said...

Poor devils. Undercut so badly by cheap labour they can't even begin to compete. They would be better off financially on the dole.

Dark satanic mills.

Mark said...

Bassetlaw... Joe Ashton used to be the MP there. A solidly white, northern , working class seat, now represented by a bog standard member of the polyocracy. I hope the worm has turned for the new MP, time will tell.

The only gleam of light I can possibly see in Mann's cv is that he spent some time in Lambeth as a councillor, which may have opened his eyes a bit.

Having said that, Mandelson also did a stint as a Lambeth councillor, and emerged with his right-on credentials intact. Then again, Brixton is also something of a gay Mecca- if I'm allowed to make that comparison.

Anonymous said...

Mandelson seems to be part of the real ruling class. He just had to do a stint in democratic politics to pay his dues, now he's been elevated to the permanent ruling class.

Good comments from the sarge.

When the proverbial finally hits the fan I hope I get to be in your squad sarge!

Anonymous said...

Re: Lawrence murder

In London I used to have to get on the same bus as this bloke who wouldn't hesitate to publicly and noisily give a KKK style haranguing to non-whites in public. He wound up dead one day, I believe he was stabbed.

There was no Macpherson report for him, and it would be pretty strange if there was wouldn't it? But that's what we got with the Steven Lawrence case. An idiot was turned into a martyr.

Immigration in Britain,
from the Windrush to present
Decades of glory
Rivers of blood.

Sgt Troy said...

"When the proverbial finally hits the fan I hope I get to be in your squad sarge!"

I'll get another sabre sharpened by the regimental blacksmith, anon
It's a grand life in the 11th Dragoon Guards

Though it was a more righteous one in the New Model of course

"Hail the day so long expected, hail the day of full release
Zion's walls are now erected, and her watchmen promise peace
Throughout England's wide dominion, shrill the trumpets loudly roar:
Babylon is fallen, is fallen, is fallen.
Babylon is fallen, to rise no more."

Sgt Troy said...

btw Laban, Christianity would be more promising if matters could be firmed up a bit

"Blow the trumpet in Mount Zion, Christ shall come a second time
Ruling with a rod of iron, all who now as foes combine.
Babel's garments we've rejected and our fellowship is sure.

Babylon is fallen, is fallen, is fallen.
Babylon is fallen, to rise no more. "

staybryte said...


re your 'anti-racism' post, Dalrymple piece on the McPherson report below.

Anonymous said...

Anon - Stephen Lawrence wasn't an idiot as far as I know - he was a perfectly decent kid from a nice family.

North of Watford said...

Off topic, but you mention Jack Dromey...

Does anyone else (apart from me) know what he was doing in Angola in the mid-seventies?

I'm not sure you'ld be surprised...

Anonymous said...

What was Mr Dromey doing?

Gallimaufry said...

Tim Worstall is right. National Minimum wage applies to all employees (except eg apprentices etc) Employment Rights For Migrant Workers However, self-employed workers do not qualify for NMW.

Anonymous said...

Re NuLab parachuting in candidates, one nice North London girl Luciana Berger now NuLab candidate for Wavertree Liverpool. No connection with the city but no doubt ticks all the boxes, I hope she gets a good kicking at the election.