Sunday, 3 July 2016

Brexit: and migrant workers in care homes and hotels >>> Who will take care of us "when the immigrants leave?"

Six years ago, Evan Davis made a documentary which considered the whole question of jobs and migrants - and looked at 'the day the immigrants left':
LiveLeak.com - The Day the Immigrants Left (doc)
The Day the Immigrants Left, Part-3/6 - YouTube
BBC One - The Day the Immigrants Left

The Sid Valley does not have potato factories or fields of asparagus, but its hotels and care homes are key industries - staffed primarily by migrant workers:
Futures Forum: The West County, East Devon and tourism
Futures Forum: Jobs and services: caring for the elderly

The Telegraph reported on the care home industry in February 2014:

Migrant workers essential for care system, says health minister

Norman Lamb says that young British people don't have the skills to fill jobs in the sector and calls previous training a "massive failure"
By Georgia Graham, 28 Feb 2014

The care system would collapse without migrant workers because British young people do not have the skills to fill jobs in the sector, a health minister has said.
Norman Lamb said that foreign workers were propping up the system because training British people for such roles had been a "massive failure" in the past.
His words come as the government was accused of losing its grip on immigration policy after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed net migration - the difference between those coming into Britain and those leaving rose by a third in the 12 months to the end of September.
It now stands at 212,000 compared to 154,000 the previous year leading Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, to claim David Cameron's pledge to bring net migration down to the tens of thousands "unworkable."
Mr Lamb, the Liberal Democrat minister responsible for care, said that, in the past, giving youngsters the right skills to compete had been a "massive failure."

Care system would collapse without migrant workers, says health minister - Telegraph

Last year, the Independent reported on our growing dependence on migrant labour:

Migrant workers needed to solve UK's 'crippling' shortage of care workers, report says
Study says social care sector 'faces a perfect storm' with a possible staff shortfall of one million by 2037

Jonathan Owen Tuesday 17 November 2015

Britain should open its borders to low skilled migrants from around the world to address a shortfall of more than one million care workers by 2037, according to a new report released.
The adult social care sector “faces a perfect storm,” states the report by Independent Age and the International Longevity Centre-UK, citing “crippling budget cuts” and an ageing population.
Unless poorly paid care work is made more attractive to Britons and migrants are able to continue to work here, “the sector will become crippled by a lack of workers to meet demand,” it warns.
There could be a shortfall of up to 200,000 workers by the end of this Parliament, states the report, which looks at the care workforce in England. 
And in less than a generation this shortage of staff will stand at more than a million, it says.
Almost one in five of all care workers are migrants – some 266,000 people - but the Government’s migration policy has “become increasingly restrictive to non-EU migrants, who make up the largest proportion of migrants working in the adult social care sector.”
Uncertain hours, low pay and stressful working conditions make care work unattractive for many, says the report. “In turn, migrants are attracted to the care sector for economic reasons,” it adds.

Migrant workers needed to solve UK's 'crippling' shortage of care workers, report says | Home News | News | The Independent

And in March this year, the Spectator reminded us how we have come to depend on migrant workers in the care industry:

Why Britain (and Europe) depends on migrants
It’s not about economics. It’s about our snobbish, slobbish culture

Theodore Dalrymple
26 March 2016
This is perhaps not the best moment in history to extol migrants from the developing world or Eastern Europe, but the fact remains that without them my life, and I suspect the life of many other people in the West, would be much poorer and more constricted than it is.
A migrant is not just a migrant, of course. Indeed, to speak of migrants in general is to deny them agency or even characteristics of their own, to assume that they are just units and that their fate depends only on how the receiving country receives them and not at all on their own motives, efforts or attributes, including their cultural presuppositions. It takes two to integrate, after all.
But I want to point to what seems to me a curious paradox. My elderly mother-in-law, who lives in Paris, requires a great deal of daily care because of illness, and in fact has three attendants who look after her on a kind of shift system. They come respectively from Cape Verde, Mauritius and Haiti. We are extremely fortunate to have them: they are very kindly and good-hearted and they do far more than they are strictly paid to do. We have good reason to be grateful to them. They have a difficult job and they do it marvellously well, with patience and good humour that is exemplary.

Why Britain (and Europe) depends on migrants

And the same piece highlighted how migrant workers make up most of the workforce in the hospitality industry:

With the exception of family hotels, for example, all good hotels in Britain employ exclusively foreign labour.

The International Labour Organisation has carried out a study into why this should be so:

Migrant workers are essential to hotel industry
A recent ILO study on "Migrant workers in the international hotel industry" shows how migrant workers and the hotel industry depend on each other. It also looks at the general working conditions these workers face. The ILO’s hotel, catering and tourism expert Wolfgang Weinz discusses the main findings of the report.

Analysis | 25 July 2012
Hotels are among the largest and most rapidly expanding industries worldwide. They require a lot of staff. However, they also need flexibility based on seasonal work. As a result, workers are usually hired on temporary contracts. Salaries tend to be low since positions do not necessarily require high skills. Working conditions are often difficult, including night-shifts and working during weekends. This is why jobs in hotels are not very attractive for the local population, especially in developed countries.
Migrant workers are essential to hotel industry

This blog has looked at the care industry:
Futures Forum: Jobs and services: caring for the elderly
... the hotel industry:
Futures Forum: Jobs and services: the hospitality industry
... and migration issues:
Futures Forum: Migration, Sidmouth and East Devon

These are not easy questions to deal with, but if attractive, better-paid jobs for local people are to happen, it doesn't look as if warehousing to the north of Sidford will provide those:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park >>> planning application plans >>> debate on Streetlife

Nor will the evolving high street of Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth: a town of charity shops and coffee shops?

Just before the Brexit/Bremain referendum took place, this piece appeared on the on-line site Open Democracy, which looked at the issues:

What would a post-xenophobic politics look like?

How do we challenge the frames which perpetuate the politics of hate?

The day after the murder of the MP Jo Cox, her husband Brendan circulated a paper he had written a few weeks previously on politicians’ failure to tackle the subject of immigration. There he argued that efforts “to neuter [far right populists] by taking their ground and aping their rhetoric” had backfired. “Far from closing down the debates, these steps legitimise [their] views, reinforce their frames and pull the debate further to the extremes”. In the hours after his wife’s death, Cox released a statement in which he urged us to “unite to fight against the hatred that killed her”. Let’s start thinking constructively about how we can do that.

The false frame

The overall framing of the national debate on immigration is that it’s a problem, and that the more immigrants, the bigger the problem and the bigger the burden on society. It’s a frame, rather than just a contestable opinion, because it’s not only the political right – or, in the current EU debate, the Leave camp – that say it. Their opponents accept it as well.
Back in 2004, the current deputy leader of the Labour party, Tom Watson, was responsible for an election leaflet that said “Labour is on your side, the Lib Dems are on the side of failed asylum seekers”. Former Labour home secretary David Blunkett has said repeatedly that Britain is being “swamped” by foreigners, recently predicting “an explosion” if Roma migrants don’t “change [their] culture”. The consistent stance on immigration from most of the right and centre of the parliamentary Labour party is that it can control ‘the numbers’ better than the Conservatives. Watson has since expressed regret for his past actions, though last week he contradicted his party leadership by calling for tighter restrictions on immigration – again, reinforcing the frames of the anti-immigrant right.
So the first step toward a post-xenophobic politics has to be pointing out, again and again, that the ‘burdensome immigration’ frame is a false one. Recent research produced by the London School of Economics (confirming earlier findings from University College London) shows that recent EU migrants “pay more in taxes than they use in public services”, have not pushed down wages or reduced job opportunities, and provide a boost to the economy through their purchasing of goods and services.
Therefore, every statement and argument made by a politician or commentator that is based on the false frame needs to be met with an immediate and direct correction. Not only is the current debate actively dangerous, but its entire basis is factually wrong. We need to say so (while also pointing out that judging human beings as economic units is slightly grotesque to begin with). 
But this is insufficient by itself. The second stage has to be showing that concerns about jobs, housing and public services can all be addressed without irrelevant diversions into immigration policy. People deserve a tangible sense that their problems can be solved, not just to be told that they’ve been misled about the causes.

The real ‘legitimate concerns’

On jobs, it is our bosses, not immigrants, who cut our pay or lay us off. So government should both legislate for and properly enforce a genuine living wage, and encourage stronger trade unions to champion people in their work place and protect them from their employers. More fundamentally, the failed Thatcher-Blair-Cameron economic model needs to be replaced with one that produces good, skilled, secure jobs, not poor, unskilled, insecure ones. This is no small task, requiring a highly developed political and policy strategy. 
On affordable housing, a massive building programme is obviously needed, as well as compulsory purchase orders for unoccupied properties, and a crackdown on parasitical landlords. Funding public services adequately to meet the demands of a growing and ageing population can, like the housebuilding programme, be paid for through the added tax revenue and economic activity produced by immigration, as well as more progressive taxation for higher earners, and dramatic action on tax havens, evasion and avoidance.
The real culprits, plainly, are not immigrants but tax dodgers, unscrupulous landlords, and exploitative bosses. And this is the new frame: an economy rigged in favour of a privileged elite. Of course, those in the old New Labour tradition will complain that this is ‘anti-business’ and ‘anti-aspiration’. Perhaps. But this framing, unlike theirs, does at least have the redeeming feature of being both factually accurate and offering concrete solutions.
Another right-populist frame requiring challenge is the caricatured dichotomy (again, parroted by the centre-left) of ordinary people with their ‘legitimate concerns’ versus a pro-migration, metropolitan elite. In reality, it is elite residents of Westminster and Fleet Street, above all, who have promoted or appeased anti-immigrant politics, abrogating their responsibilities as custodians of the national conversation, colluding in the misleading of the public, and spreading fear, hatred and division in doing so. And it is their friends, proprietors and donors in the economic elite who have been the prime beneficiaries, escaping the blame for economic exploitation and inequality in the long aftermath of the financial crash. Ordinary people, in the absence of any serious policies to materially improve their living standards, have not been well served by this misdirection. 
And ordinary people, in any case, are a varied group. In London, where migration is at its highest, where deep poverty persists, and where the housing crisis is perhaps at its most acute, UKIP finds itself repeatedly and resoundingly rejected at the ballot box. The fact that Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency is both one of the most diverse and one of the most deprived in the capital has not stopped his less thoughtful opponents branding him as an out of touch metropolitan. Perhaps they should instead ask him how he has managed to thrive as a local MP in this environment.

British prejudice

Finally, we will need to confront the fact that antipathy towards immigrants is not always a proxy for legitimate economic concerns. Geographically, anti-immigrant sentiment is at its highest where the number of immigrants is lowest, suggesting that prejudice and ignorance, rather than direct experience, is a significant part of the picture. This also indicates that attitudes change when immigrants become real people – friends, colleagues, family members – rather than a dehumanisedinundating mass.
The disproportionately white Anglo-Saxon residents of Westminster and Fleet Street may find this hard to believe, but Britain has a rich and well established tradition of racism and xenophobia. The idea that these feelings might bewidespread, rather than marginal, is only discounted by those who have never been subjected to them first hand. Tackling this issue will be harder, and deserves to be the subject of a separate article. But a first step would be acknowledging its existence, and a second might be for public figures to direct their righteous indignation toward the fact of prejudice, rather than the accusation of it.

Out of the darkness, or further in?

When a narrative takes hold wherein the nation is threatened by a designated out-group, some form of darkness tends to follow close behind. We don’t exactly need more historical proof of this. Reflexive blaming of the out-group, painting them as the root cause of all social ills is a familiar part of the script, as is their stigmatisation as a securitysexual or public health threat. Thus dehumanised, the out-group becomes uniquely vulnerable to mistreatment, including violence, as do any of those deemed “traitors” for siding with them (in our case, the imaginary pro-migrant, metropolitan elite).
All of this was perfectly apparent before the death – in the midst of an overtly xenophobic political campaign - of the pro-migrant MP Jo Cox, whose accused murderer is reportedly a committed racist neo-Nazi who allegedly shouted far right slogans as he stabbed and shot her. It was apparent in the brutal mistreatment of the detainees in Yarl’s Wood, and in the repeated drowningsclaiming hundreds of lives at the gates of Fortress Europe. It was apparent in the rising tide of racist attacks on public transport, and the increasing number of people in Britain prepared to admit to being racist (not the same as the number who are actually racist) in recent years.
The choice before us then is clear enough. We can continue on the present course, knowing both from historical and immediate experience where this is leading. Or we can break the frame, change the narrative, and push back hard against anyone still following the script that brought us here. Britain has begun to feel like a nightmare version of itself in recent weeks. But the current trajectory isn’t inevitable. The lies can be called out, the real issues can be tackled, the hate can be beaten. Again, it’s a choice, not just for this Thursday, but for a sustained fightback in the months and years ahead.

What would a post-xenophobic politics look like? | openDemocracy

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