Socialist Worker

Resist attempt to whip up racism

Issue No. 2125

One danger that trade unionists can face in a time of recession is the argument that migrant workers are to blame.

Rather than holding bankers, bosses and their system responsible for job losses and factory closures, many in the right wing media would rather we blamed others who are just as much victims of the system as ourselves.

Gordon Brown fed this notion with his infamous “British jobs for British workers” slogan.

More recently New Labour attack dog Phil Woolas encouraged the sentiment when he said the government had “lost the trust of the people” on immigration.

The only power we have to save jobs and fight for decent wages lies in our power to unite as a class.

If we want to ensure that migrant workers are not used to drive down wages, then the only way is to unionise them.

This cannot be done if they are regarded as competitors or enemies.

That is why the various union initiatives to recruit organisers from a variety of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds is vital.

But it is also why fighting to involve migrant workers in every union struggle is the key.

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Tue 28 Oct 2008, 18:37 GMT
Issue No. 2125
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