Socialist Worker

LETTERS: Labour and the unions should not give in to scapegoating of migrants

Issue No. 2572

Protesting for migrants’ rights

Protesting for migrants’ rights (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Freedom of movement gives migrants and workers from Britain the right to travel and work across the European Union (EU).

By 2019 this important right could be taken away. Therefore it is very sad that many Labour politicians—and even trade unions—want to get rid of free movement.

They seem to believe that migrant workers undercut wages and employment conditions, a claim not supported by any shred of evidence.

On the contrary—all expert studies show that immigration does not influence wages or unemployment figures.

And the same people often support Britain’s membership in the EU’s neoliberal single market.

In other words, they actively support the interests of big business against workers.

In the EU, the interests of big business always come first and workers’ rights are always subordinated to them.

Brexit gives us a unique chance of reversing this deep imbalance, embedded in the EU’s laws and institutions.

To put working class interests at the forefront, we need to defend freedom of movement.

At the same time we need to abandon the single market—a capitalist vehicle of exploitation and oppression.

Only that way can we pave a way to a people’s Brexit.

Now more than ever we need a solidarity of working class people across borders. We can’t let our rulers divide us according to the passports we carry, languages we speak, or colour of our skin.

Those divisions are not in our interests, and boost those who want to perpetuate the current system.

The vote in the last June’s Brexit referendum was a powerful roar against that status quo—it demands a meaningful change.

Jacek Szymanski, North London

Having been a school’s improvement officer across 60 schools in England, I know immigration isn’t the issue in schools.

Certain schools perform better than others, which then become over subscribed. There’s also a serious shortage of schools across the whole of Britain.

Again, this has little to do with immigration given the age breakdown of immigrants.

It has everything to do with governments failing to react to a growing population.

Trying to blame these issues on migrant workers, who on the whole contribute more to the British economy than they take, is simply wrong.

Robert Venus, On Facebook

Socialist Worker is ignoring that the basis of freedom of movement as it stands in the European Union (EU) is about the free movement of capital.

Dominic Davidson, On Facebook

Free movement of capital is the enemy of the working class.

The EU is set up to establish free market economies and allow companies to maximise profits within them.

A race to the bottom on wages helps nobody but the boss.

Alan Yule, On Facebook

Immigrants will get the blame and governments will always waste squillions.

The bankers cost us £45 billion—but bigots ignore that.

Tariq Ali, On Facebook


Our unions must lead a pay fight

We can potentially mobilise hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of workers around fighting the public sector pay cap.

And we can not only regain some of the pay we’ve lost over the last decade, but sink the Tories in the process.

The Trade Union Act’s requirement of a 50 percent turnout in ballots for strikes is no doubt an obstacle.

Our union leaders need to start a serious campaign now to win ballots for strikes.

The campaign needs to be bold and radical, and learn from the CWU postal workers’ union.

During its ballot of Royal Mail workers, the union has held site meetings, given out leaflets and badges and used social media.

We need pay rallies in towns and cities across Britain and to invite Jeremy Corbyn to speak at them.

In the process we can rebuild our unions and inspire a new generation to become active in workplace struggles.

A victory over pay through strikes would be a game changer.

Huw Williams, Bristol

The Tories have pushed down wages.

But the same MPs took an 11 percent pay rise themselves, And fat cat bosses earn more than ever before.

John Long, On Facebook


Grenfell is a class issue

For people from the higher classes within British society, the Grenfell Tower fire is merely an unfortunate occurrence.

It was shocking and unacceptable that any person could be treated in such a way.

People gasped in horror at how risking any amount of life could be worth saving £2 per square meter on cheaper cladding.

What’s not acknowledged is the fact that these problems have been longstanding within this community.

For the people affected, it is their entire life.

Upper class people are not aware of the discrimination working class people face even in the pursuit of the most basic security within their homes.

Emily Rose Lee-Williams, West London


Leaving EU is right for left

Getting out of the European Union (EU) is the right thing to do.

As a socialist I voted Leave last June.

The problem is the Tories have no idea what they are doing with Brexit. They will mess it up for all of us.

John Turner, On Facebook


Arms dealers’ deadly profits

I am so ashamed of Britain and its continuing hypocrisy and selling arms to countries such as Saudi Arabia (Socialist Worker, 6 September).

It’s time they sorted out the dishonesty and corruption here.

They should stop killing innocent people for profit. It’s disgraceful and is it any wonder that we are hated?

As the saying goes, “we reap what we sow”.

Margaret Peel Cummins, On Facebook


Royal Mail is fight for us all

The fight by Royal Mail workers absolutely is everyone’s fight (Socialist Worker, 13 September).

Our CEO is set to slum it in retirement on only £200,000 a year.

@Canarypoetic, On Twitter


No Platform doesn’t work

Nadia Sayed argues that "fascists should be denied a platform at every opportunity" (Socialist Worker, Letters 13 September).

But when racists are debated in public they often lose the argument.

When the British National Party’s (BNP) Nick Griffin appeared on BBC Question Time, it resulted in the demise of the BNP.

If the debate is suppressed that can cause resentment and some people veering towards the right.

Geoff Bridges, On Facebook


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.