Socialist Worker

Truck driver makes stand

Issue No. 1712

Truck driver makes stand

MANY PEOPLE are taking a stand in support of refugees. They include a truck driver who picked up a leaflet from campaigners in Brighton during a recent protest against New Labour's refugee voucher scheme. He wrote the following letter to the Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers:

I'm an international freight driver doing regular journeys to Spain and Portugal and back. I often get harassed by immigration officials, police and customs. In one six month period I was stopped 22 times. Although not all the stoppages were immigration checks, most were.

On my last journey from Valencia in Spain I was stopped three times in less than 1,500 kilometres. The fact that a worker like me, now nearing retirement age, faces life with an inadequate pension has nothing to do with "illegal" immigrants.

Similarly, if I am unfortunate enough to use the NHS, the fact that services are underfunded has nothing to do with immigrants. Jack Straw and William Hague deserve our disgust for whipping up racist hysteria and causing harassment to workers like myself and suffering to immigrants.

Until I read an article in the journal my trade union, the URTU, produces, I had not realised the nature of the recent racist legislation by New Labour. For instance, if ten desperate people try to cross the Channel in a trailer that I am pulling, then immigration officials can impose a fine of �10,000 which I have to pay.

Not only is there no court case, there is no way I can appeal. I believe this is a cause for concern for anti-racist campaigners and civil rights groups. Solidarity with your campaign.

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Article information

Sat 2 Sep 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1712
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