|SAY NO TO NATIONALISM|
Politics in Britain is definitely becoming nastier. It's about appealing for the votes of bigots and xenophobes without appearing to be one yourself. It is the old story of pitting worker against worker, divide and rule. If indeed Tesco and Next are paying lower pay rates to migrant workers then we and the unions need to be supporting those workers and putting forward the argument that the important thing is equal pay and conditions for all workers, not their nationality.
Labour Party politicians such as Shadow Immigration Minister Chris Bryant are using nationalism and jingoism to channel workers’ genuine anger and discontent about falling living standards and reduced wage levels against other workers. Average hourly wages have fallen 5.5% since mid-2010. In 2009, the average public-sector worker earned about £16.60 per hour, which dropped to about £15.80 in 2011, the IFS said.
Meanwhile, hourly pay for private-sector workers in 2009 was just over £15.10 and dropped to about £13.60 in 2011.
The last thing we all want are bosses exploiting the divisions between workers that are based on nationality. The threat to the jobs of workers does not come from Eastern European workers who are being used to cheapen labour costs. Capitalism doesn’t give a fig about the nationality of those it exploits. It only cares about how much profit it can extract from them. Businesses are more than happy when workers are set against each other, when they are divided up into competing national groups.
British and so-called ‘foreign’ workers face the same threat of unemployment and poverty because of capitalism. This is just how degrading the wages system is for us workers. To live we must have money and to get "good money" (relatively speaking) we need to find an employer. Which puts us in competition with our fellow workers and makes us see them as rivals for the jobs employers have to offer. It's all very well saying that workers shouldn't do this, but it's true : we are all rivals in the jobs market. The conclusion to be drawn of course is that we get rid of the wages system. All socialists can effectively do is make a principled stand saying "workers of the world unite". That might sound a bit abstract but true, nevertheless.