Socialist Worker

EU attacks on migrants

Issue No. 2108

The European Parliament has adopted a new law known as the Returns Directive which is aimed at fast tracking mass deportations.

It removes the right of migrants to legal representation and allows states to deport unaccompanied children. It also enables the detaining of immigrants for up to 18 months. New Labour won an opt-out clause which allows it to continue with unlimited detention in Britain.

The European Union courts are also using attacks on migrants to attack the rights of all workers. A series of judgements this year in the European Court of Justice has attempted to limit the right of workers to take industrial action where this conflicts with the pursuit of profit.

In the Laval case, the court ruled against Swedish workers who struck to prevent a Latvian company using migrant workers to lower wages. The Viking judgement ruled in favour of a Finnish company that used cheaper migrant workers on its boats.

In the Ruffert case, the court ruled that a Polish subcontractor operating in Germany was entitled to pay its workers less than half the agreed minimum wage for the German construction sector.

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