Saturday, 31 January 2009

British jobs for British workers

(By Richard Holway) In Oct 2007, Gordon Brown first uttered the words "British jobs for British workers" which have now come back to haunt him. The dispute, which started at the Lindsey Oil Refinery, is spreading - fast. This particular dispute is about building work subcontracted to a company that has brought in Italian workers. As long as we are in the EU, there is nothing anyone (including Mr Brown who ought to have known better) can do to stop that.

However, it also appears that the contractor effectively banned British workers from the job - and that is certainly against the law.

A few months ago I had a long conversation with one of (if not the) highest Government Civil Servant responsible for IT. A year ago HM Govt. was pretty relaxed about the use of offshore (that's mainly Indian) resources - perhaps not as prime but certainly as a subcontractor or partner. Now I think that view has changed considerably. Of course, HM Government want savings on IT but they also want "British jobs for British workers" (to pay the taxes that we so desperately now need). If 'push came to shove', I think HM Government would choose the jobs route. Of course, Britain is much more able to do this with countries, like India, outside the EU.

I have argued long and hard on HotViews for the benefits of a strong British SITS sector - if possible also British-owned too. Last month - in my Locality to a Locality article - I argued how multinationals ultimately would give preference to operations in their 'home town'. I can understand why Obama only wants to help US car manufacturers to preserve jobs in the US. When handouts are limited, charity really must begin at home.

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