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February 03, 2009

Planetary displacement?

On my way to a job yesterday I listened to BBC Radio 4 and the discussion over the series of "wildcat" strikes which seem to have rippled out of the Total Refinery in Lincolnshire over the awarding of a contract by Total (A French based and owned company) to do some work on upgrading certain parts of the refinery to an Italian Contractor who employs only Italian workers. Given that this is more and more commonly happening, in fact is getting worse across the board as almost all our energy companies and certainly almost all our fuel suppliers are now owned by EU based companies, it is hardly surprising to find that men, laid off from these same company sites because the contracts their employers were working under have been cancelled, should feel aggrieved.

Total claims that the company they had contracted had failed to do what was required, the company concerned counter claims that they were not given a fair crack at the work because the requirement kept changing. This is a well-known and fairly common tactic when trying to break a contract to your advantage. The UK now has most of its industry foreign owned and offshore "managed" and UK workers are usually the first to be axed by these companies as they are not "domestic" as far as the new owners HQ and Board are concerned and therefore easier to dismiss. Total also claims to be paying the Italian workers the same rate as they would pay a UK contractor - but the truth is that labour "on costs" for workers domiciled elsewhere in the EU are lower than the cost of employing someone domiciled here - thanks to Gordon Brown's stealth taxes.

The UK now has almost 3 million workers out of work but our government claims that these men are "free" to do what the French, Italians and others are doing - bid for contracts in those countries and go there to work. What they will not say is how many UK based companies have succeeded in securing any such contracts. Its not that they don't try, many do and I have had some peripheral involvement in one or two myself - but the French will never ever give a contract to a British company if there is a French one that can do the job. Nor will the Italians. It isn't "protectionism" as Gordon Brown accuses us of trying to practice, it is simply looking after your people and making sure that if the skills exist in the area where the work is to be done, that that skills pool is used. You don't allow a company to "import" a complete workforce to do jobs where there are local people available to do it - you may award the contract to some EU company, but the proviso has to be that they use local labour. That is what the stikers are arguing for and though I do not generally support strike action and have never myself gone on strike (Often to my own disadvantage!) this is one time when I do think there is a legitimate complaint.

The EU "free" labour market is being ruthlessly exploited to the advantage of everyone except the native British. This is not the first time this has happened and as long as Westminster continues to ignore the inequalities - presumably because they have their pockets being generously lined by their EU chums and have vested interests in shafting every British worker as far as they can - our "competitors" will continue to exploit this loophole in the UK's interpretation of the EU Directive.

Listening to that prat "Lord" Mandelson and the Europhile Kenneth Clark refusing to recognise that there is a problem and defending an argument which is as far removed from what the strikers are complaining about as it is possible to be without actually speaking different languages - I got the impression that Westminster and Whitehall have been transferred to another planet. It certainly hasn't the same number of moons that circle the one I and the strikers currently inhabit.

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 3, 2009 12:00 PM

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It is not just british people even foriegn local
people who till about a year ago trys to get jobs
in local agency if you not eastern eueropean you
are at the bottom ( I been hear since 1969) Maltese. My wive worked part time with one agency
I was asking for work nothing a easter eureopean
in the country 3 days gets a job with same agency i was asking day in and day out. we just get the scraps.Corus were I used to work The dutch bought it which do they
shut not theres but LLanwern they would had to give there workers more reduncey All over you
seen it shuting british co. first one hotel in gwent empolyes esatern eureopeans No one listens
young british people i knoes who wanted to work
and you cant get work

Posted by: john at February 8, 2009 06:02 PM

Exactly my point John, it is a one way traffic with our "industrial assets" being stripped and sold and UK jobs being farmed out to people based elsewhere in the EU - but no reciprosity for anyone based here. The French certainly won't hire anyone from here or buy anything sourced here - in fact they used their grip on Brussels to have a company here that made ingredients used in cheese and other dairy products shut down because it was proving to be too competitive for their own poor quality products ....

Posted by: The Gray Monk at February 8, 2009 08:15 PM

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