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News - 15 September 2007
A far cry from today's migrant workers

Migrant workers key to business growth

On the closing day of the TUC Conference in Brighton, British Chamber of Commerce Director General David Frost called on the Government to fulfil its commitment to a highly skilled and flexible workforce.

David Frost said, “The Prime Minister rightly put the need for a highly skilled UK workforce at the heart of his speech to the TUC, and British business will offer its whole hearted support to this agenda. It can’t be ignored though that employers finding it hard to recruit British workers with the skills and work ethic their businesses need have to rely on the talents of migrant workers. Alongside efforts to better equip British workers, the Government should think very carefully before imposing restrictions discouraging migrant workers from coming to our country.

The flexibility offered by temporary agency workers is also important to the continued success of business, and the Government should stand firm in resisting the imposition of the EU Agency Workers Directive. The increased regulation this brings would significantly increase the cost and bureaucracy of using temps, spelling disaster for the country’s long term unemployed by shutting off a valuable route into the labour market.

A snapshot survey has already revealed that 86% of BCC members would be less likely to employ temps if they were subject to the restrictions of the directive. ”

David Frost also warned against the economic dangers of unreasonable public sector union demands and strike action, “The sabre rattling of union leaders is as dangerous as it is unjustified. Mass strike action would hit the British economy hard, particularly the thousands of small firms that rely on local services to do business. It’s already estimated that each postal strike alone costs small firms £2.5million.

These are not the ‘fat cat businessmen’ that the unions would have us believe make up the business community. They are people working hard to earn a livelihood and create employment – without the many benefits enjoyed by public sector workers. The vast majority of people working in the private sector can only dream of the types of pensions and salary protection on offer to state employees, and would suffer from the economic havoc brought if union demands are met.

Public sector union leaders think hard about their unreasonable demands, and consider the impact irresponsible strike action will have on the country.”

Read related items on:
British Chamber of Commerce
Frost, David

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