Labour Migration and Employment Rights

Submitted by carolyn on Sat, 01/10/2005 - 19:57

Edited by Bernard Ryan

Published in October 2005

Migrant workers often enter the UK in the hope of finding a better life – the truth is often far from that. Migrant workers are denied social benefits and are offered very little protection in terms of employment rights while the destitution faced by unemployed migrants makes them more vulnerable to unscrupulous employers.

According to our evidence, pay is withheld, holidays refused, unlawful deductions from pay are often demanded and no pay slip provided. Yet migrant workers have no redress because their contract is often deemed ‘unlawful’. Attempts by workers to organise into a union are often thwarted by employers calling in immigration authorities.

The intense exploitation faced by migrant workers highlights fundamental weaknesses in British employment law. The best way to address this is to undermine the economic advantage to employers of employing migrant workers. This should be done, not by restricting the supply of such labour but by regulating employment status, practices and protections. By strengthening migrant workers’ rights, we help prevent unscrupulous employers undercutting wages and depressing sectors of the economy. This in turn will help remove some of the hostility shown to migrant workers in sections of society.


* Foreword Jon Cruddas MP and Neil Gerrard MP * Chapter 1 Introduction: perspectives on labour migration Bernard Ryan University of Kent * Chapter 2 How immigration control fashions the labour force Don Flynn Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants * Chapter 3 Legal migration: the right to work in Britain Bernard Ryan University of Kent * Chapter 4 Unauthorised working Laura Dubinsky Doughty Street Chambers * Chapter 5 Migrant workers and employment law Sonia McKay Working Lives Research Institute, and Asha Rivers Rowley Ashworth Solicitors * Chapter 6 International agreements on labour migration Steve Gibbons Ergon Associates * Chapter 7 Summary of main recommendations 210 x 135mm; 144pp; ISBN 0 9547562 4 X;

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