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I'm Not Racist But...
Member Name: proxam
I'm Not Racist But...
Date: 13/08/07, updated on 23/04/13 (182 review reads)
Advantages: Not being racist
I'm not racist, but...
But nothing. I'm not racist - I've never been competitive. In fact the only sport I really like is football and there's not much racing involved in that I suppose. What there is in football though, is a large influx of 'Johnny Foreigner'.
Just like real life.
For the last year, I've been working on one of those PPP thingies - y'know, where a private firm makes a whacking great profit from future tax-payers. But I'm sure that it's no different to many working places today in that it almost seems that the majority of employees don't have English as their first language. I know from anecdotal evidence that this is certainly true of the construction industry.
It sometimes feels like the UN at work. I'm more likely to hear Portuguese or Punjabi than Scots or English...there's even a large contingent of Brummies! This isn't a problem as such, but what is a problem is that most of the (let's say 'non British passport holders') are paid a lower rate than their native counterparts. This seems a little dodgy to me.
I accept that contractors have to get the best return on their investment etc., but there's another side to this.
As I said, many of these foreign workers, although generally very hard working, don't speak English. Not at all. Not a word. As you can imagine, this makes for a very confusing workplace. It's hard enough trying to understand someone from a different part of the country sometimes, especially in a noisy atmosphere, but just consider the implications.
Many jobs allocated to foreign workers are explained in a sort of pidgin-English-helped-along-with-hand-signs-kinda- way.
Not the best way to run a multi-million pound contract.
What this means is that things have to be repeatedly explained and then, quite often re-done because a misunderstanding took place (quelle surpise).
It also raises safety issues. How do you warn someone of certain hidden dangers in Polish?
As I said, I'm not racist and these people have a legitimate right to be here (as we Brits have of being there) but it seems to me that some sort of thought should have went into how we were going to cope with the massive rush of foreign workers.
The government will tell us that it's good for the economy, but I don't swallow that. As already mentioned, foreign workers are generally being paid less and this will inevitably lead to a fall in wages.
Most foreign workers aren't coming here to settle, they come to earn (what is for them) fantastic wages and send it back home. Earning less means that they'll pay less tax so less goes into the coffers of our government.
So who benefits?
Well, the foreign workers are able to earn more than they could back home but the main beneficiaries are the contractors who lower their wage bill and maximise their profits.
I'm not racist, but it seems to me that although EU citizens have freedom of movement and employment, I can't for the life of me understand how it's possible to work in a country where you don't even have a primitive grasp of the language.
It all just seems to me like the gold rush of the Yukon or something - a mad race for plum jobs in Britland (pun intended), and a mad race for increased profit and a mad race into dangerous working practices.
Having said all that, I don't have a problem with any of the foreign workers I encounter (well, one or two, but that's because they're wankers, not because they're foreign) and in general get on great with them, especially a crowd of Punjabis who bring in the most amazing packed lunches!
Summary: No ifs, no buts