TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady joined other high-profile figures yesterday in condemning anti-migrant rhetoric, warning Ucatt conference delegates that exploitation was workers’ real enemy.
Ms O’Grady told the annual conference: “In an industry that has always relied on waves of migrant workers from across the sea, for me the challenge has always been, and will always be, unionised jobs for unionised workers.”
She said the only way to beat exploitation across the world is by “defending our rights to organise, to bargain and, if necessary, to withdraw our labour.”
And she warned that the main challenge facing all workers in Britain was stopping the government’s attack on their rights.
“This is a boss-friendly, Bullingdon Club of a government, determined to attack the limited employment rights we have,” Ms O’Grady said.
“We’re all familiar with the long list of shame. Tupe rights weakened, protection against unfair dismissal cut, fees for tribunals introduced, redundancy rights trimmed, time off for union reps under attack.”
Her warning came as new official figures rubbished Tory scaremongering over Britain being swamped by immigrants.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed there had actually been a decrease in the number of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in Britain since movement restrictions were lifted.
There were 140,000 Romanians and Bulgarians working in Britain between January and March — a fall from 144,000 between October-December 2013.
IPPR think tank associate direction Tim Finch said the figures prove that the “panic whipped up” of Britain being overrun by Romanian and Bulgarian workers were nothing more than “alarmist” scaremongering.