Labour MP Accuses Tesco And Next Of Excluding British Workers In Favour Of Immigrants
Politicians in the UK and the media use the issue of immigration as a political football that can be kicked in whichever direction they wish, in order to appease middle-England’s concerns and capture some high-impact headlines. But are we putting ourselves at risk of scoring an own goal due to an ignorance of the UK’s labour market and the issues facing UK businesses?
The media agenda tends largely to set narratives positioning immigrants as the ‘villain’ under an umbrella theme of them being an ‘issue’ that needs to be dealt with and the country is being stormed by ‘illegals’ and ‘benefit scroungers’.
Now both Next and Tesco are deliberately hiring cheaper, Eastern European workers in preference to British staff, Labour shadow minister Chris Bryant will claim in a speech next week.
In a hard-hitting speech, Bryant, the shadow immigration minister, is set to single out the two companies as “unscrupulous employers whose only interest seems to be finding labour as cheaply as possible”.
The keynote speech due to be given on Monday is set to attack the “racist van”, a Home Office initiative where a billboard which was driven around immigrant areas, telling those in the UK illegally to “Go Home” and offering them help to do so and for Labour to be seen to be tough on immigrants to wow voters.
Bryant said he understood concerns from communities that “unscrupulous employers whose only interest seems to be finding labour as cheaply as possible, will recruit workers in large numbers in low wage countries in the EU, bring them to the UK, charge the costs of their travel and their substandard accommodation against their wages and still not even meet the national minimum wage.”
“That is unfair. It exploits migrant workers and it makes it impossible for settled workers with mortgages and a family to support at British prices to compete.”
He will continue: “Take the case of Tesco, who recently decided to move their distribution centre in Kent. The new centre is larger and employs more people, but the staff at original site, most of them British, were told that they could only move to the new centre if they took a cut in pay.
“Look at Next PLC, who last year brought 500 Polish workers to work in their South Elmsall warehouse for their summer sale and another 300 this summer.
Both Tesco and Next had declared themselves surprised at the attack from Bryant. Next, which employs about 54,500 people, said in a statement: “Without access to the facts it is difficult to comment on what Mr Bryant is claiming. On the face of it, his allegations seem unlikely.”
Tesco called Bryant’s claims “wrong” and said it “works incredibly hard to recruit from the local area” and currently employs more than 290,000 staff in Britain,.
After all the debate, furore and opinion, the main issue still remains which is that the immigrant labour force is still needed to manage and work in jobs that the native population isn’t always willing to fill. The labour force issue isn’t going to be solved until either the native population can afford to or is willing to take on low-level menial jobs.