Migrant work in the UK

Most people who work in the UK today can take comfort in being the main benefactors of labour movement struggles over the past century or so.

However, even if most of us are protected by laws, trade unions or just plain and simple custom and practice, spare a thought for the latest wave of migrant workers who rarely do.

An article by BBC News (England) today comments on the plight of migrant labour employed by the farming/food processing industries.

An excerpt from the article includes the words of a migrant labourer:

"I was known by a number and not my name, as we all were...

We had to put a sticker with our number on all the trays we packed and that is what the supervisors would call us ... I was known as 137...

We weren't allowed to talk to each other either. Eating was also a problem, there was no refrigerator and we only had one or two toilets for 100 workers."

The words of one person I accept. Similar to many reports from call centres, no doubt. However, is it a sign of a civil society where everyone who comes to be there is entitled to the same basic rights?

For more details see Migrant worker calls for reform by Heather Hinchley.

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