BBC. The day the immigrants left.

  robgf 23:30 24 Feb 2010

Interesting program, but with rather biased.
It didn't compare like with like, except in the case of the carpenter.

To take people straight off long term employment and expect them to match seasoned workers, after just two days was ridiculous, especially on field work.
People go soft on the dole and it takes a while to toughen them up again.

Also, there was no mention that lots of jobs aren't advertised anymore. Where I work started to employ Poles, etc, a while back and since then have never employed a non Pole, as they are always asking if there are jobs for their, brother, uncle etc, so no need to advertise. Plus they are paid minimum wage, with no overtime payment, which makes the boss happy.

There was no mention of the wages being driven down either. With everyone happy to work for the minimum wage, that is all you get. If you earn more than £8.00 per hour around here, people think you are doing well.

Would Evan Davis be quite so keen on immigrant labour, if they took his job and to compete he had to work for minimum wage. Thats if the job was even available to him.

  DieSse 00:52 25 Feb 2010

It's actually a bit ingenuous to call EU citizens "immigrant labour"

All EU citizens have the right to live and work anywhere in the EU (apart from some transitional arrangements, which the UK government perhaps unwisely didn't choose to implement).

As I have, the right to live and work in Spain (though I'm retired now). This doesn't mean I would have to work for the minimum wage though - as a person with a skill I could get a skilled job at a skilled workers wage. So your Even Davis example just wouldn't occur in the way you suggest.

And you must also remember that lower wages can lead to lower cost of production, and so to lower prices. How would it be, for instance, if food prices shot up because productivity was lower and/or wages were higher? - howls of protest I would assume.

Or if the cost of manufactured goods went up, more cheaper imports came in, and so jobs were lost from the UK completely? That scenario has already decimated UK manufacturing.

One issue is that for seasonal workers in particular, the benefits system makes it very difficult for them to do just a couple of months seasonal work. Just another example of a lack of flexibility in employment law actually works against people in some circumstances.

  robgf 01:35 25 Feb 2010

"It's actually a bit ingenuous to call EU citizens "immigrant labour""
That was the program makers words, not mine.

You mention that as a skilled worker, you would expect a wage to match that. As you have retired you probably don't realise that even skilled workers wages are dropping.
At my company we now employ a couple of Polish engineers (time served and pretty good) at £7.22 ph. So if I was to apply for a job at my firm, that would be all I could expect to be paid, not much of a return for my skills.

The area I live in, has a very high level of Eastern Europeans, probably around the 25% mark amongst working age people. On the whole, I prefer them to English people, as they are less rule bound, but economically they are a disaster to this area, driving down wages.

"lower wages can lead to lower cost of production" only if the lower costs are passed on. My company hasn't dropped any prices (actually we raised them on Nov 09), the boss just makes more money.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 07:12 25 Feb 2010

'but economically they are a disaster to this area, driving down wages'...I notice a lack of howls of protest on this forum at the wages paid to those in India, China and all countries east of Germany as we plunder the shops for luxury goods.
The bewildered doombrains on the programme were a lazy bunch of idle, shiftless, unworldly dworks and they deserve everything that they get + more...if they can be bothered to get up that is or if they do not have the dreaded 'stomach trouble', the amount of which would make heavy financial investment in Gaviscon shares a prime fiscal move. These halfwits expected to land a decent job with little or no qualifications. They encompassed everything hat is wrong in the UK and were a total embarrassment to watch.
The foreign workers OTOH, showed why the UK is well-knackered in the manufacturing stakes and why we are going to struggle hugely to get out of the recessional hole that we are entrenched firmly in.


  DieSse 07:19 25 Feb 2010

"That was the program makers words, not mine."

I criticised the words, not you. But you did repeat them without comment.

"we now employ a couple of Polish engineers (time served and pretty good) at £7.22 ph."

If that's the going rate, that's the going rate. Get used to competition.

"..but economically they are a disaster to this area, driving down wages."

Why is that a disaster? Things that help keep companies viable and successful are a good thing, surely. Or would you prefer to become uncompetitive and close?

"...the boss just makes more money."

Do you know that for sure? - you know all the economics of the business? Plus see above - successful and profitable companies are sorely needed by the UK. Presumably your boss would have to (and may have more room to) lower prices if the goods/services started to be in less demand or suffer more competition. Your company presumably also has less need to borrow and/or more capital to expand if more profits are being made?

I suggest you are maybe taking a blinkered view of economics in a very difficult economic mess. Nobody owes anyone else a living. My pension is much less owing to the lower exchange rate of the £/€ - so I need to supplement it. Big deal - it's just a fact of life, which includes economics.

  Taw® 09:04 25 Feb 2010

"To take people straight off long term employment and expect them to match seasoned workers, after just two days was ridiculous, especially on field work."
On the contrary the employer with the asparagus field stated that the foreign workforce arrived having no knowledge or experience of the work and after about 4 hours became extremely adept at the task. Even after two days the seasoned Brit Workforce still could not match there foreign counterparts.

Besides how much experience do you need, to know that if you are given a start time, you are expected to be there at that time?

No doubt the program is just that a program, and you have to allow for an amount of editorial bias for entertainment purposes, however I to me the message was clear, Britain is more racist than it cares to admit, this usually starts with the statement, "I'm not a racist but!!!!" and rather than get up of their butts and work a lot of people prefer to sit on them and complain. None of the jobs shown were particularly difficult to pick up, all they required was to attend, and put in some hard work.

As a nation we can talk a good job, but when it comes to doing it, well!!!!

  rickf 10:38 25 Feb 2010

I agree with Gandalf. When I left Uni and couldn't get a job in my field I worked for 2 years as a dishwasher in a Bistro to upkeep myself until I found a proper job. In that time I also learned a lot about the catering trade and actually picked up how to cook certain French dishes the proper way. It's down to attitude. The unemployed goons shown in the programme are the very lot which brings this country down. They seem to feel that they have a God given right to be provided for. A bunch of spoilt brats if you asked me. They also can't take instructions and showed a total disrespect for authority.
I am sure lots here would disgree with me and go on the same mantra that "they are taking our jobs" The jobs are for the taking go for it.

  peter99co 10:54 25 Feb 2010

Well said!

  anchor 14:03 25 Feb 2010

Two EU workers I know make no secret of the fact that they are working here because jobs are scarce in their own countries.

They spend as little as they can here, and send as much as possible home, where they plan to return in due course. One is even receiving child benefit for his family back home.

This contributes nothing to the spread of wealth in the UK community. For some inexplicable reason Mr Blair did not place limits on the numbers that could come to work here; other EU member countries did.

I agree this is only two cases, but it might represent the tip of the iceberg.

  peter99co 14:48 25 Feb 2010

The base line on this is that the employer will take whoever will do the job and sometimes only the foreign workforce (seasonal workers) want the work. Without them the crops would stay in the ground.

  oresome 15:47 25 Feb 2010

"Two EU workers I know make no secret of the fact that they are working here because jobs are scarce in their own countries."

Why would they "make a secret" of it? It seems a perfectly sensible thing to do.

I believe any optional limits on numbers are for a transitional period only to allow some member countries to adjust to the impact free labour movement from new entrants could make.

Last nights programme demonstrated that the employer will NOT take on anyone who will do the job.

The employer wants someone who is reliable, can follow instructions and works hard for the money offered. That narrows the choice somewhat.

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