Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Drowning for Labour Fluidity

Socialist Banner has previously reported on the woes of the migrant and has repeatedly stated that workers have no borders. 200 migrants were feared dead off the coast of Libya, after the smugglers' boat which was supposed to take them to Italy capsized.The UN refugee agency estimates that more than 67,000 people undertook the dangerous voyage to Europe in smugglers' boats in 2008. More than 1,700 are known to have died, but that figure could be far higher.

Echoing much of our analysis is the head of the UN refugee agency, Antonio Guterres when he said :-

"I think it's important to recognise that in today's world where as we have seen, money moves so freely, and goods tend to move also more and more freely, there are still tremendous obstacles for people.People need to move because they can no longer live in their countries of origin because of war, because of environmental degradation, because of poverty, there are many reasons that force people to move."

The International Labour Organisation says that despite the current global financial crisis, falling birth rates across western Europe will cause a labour shortage over the next few years. It says Europe should think about making it easier for people from the developing world to come in and work.

"You have a strong demand for labour particularly in industrialised countries," explained Patrick Taran, a migrant labour specialist with the ILO."They need people to fill the low skilled jobs in agriculture and construction, manufacturing, domestic work, in health care, and you have a lot of people, including with skills, who need those jobs and are willing to come for them."

He adds "When there's no job at all at home, when you have a family to feed, you will take risks to make sure that you and your family have food on the table."

As socialists are concerned, it is not a case of chanting “Migrants are welcome here” , which implies we as workers have some right to say who is and isn't welcome in the first place; nor even of saying that the immigration laws should be relaxed. We understand that the thing which makes workers leave behind their communities, and go to a place where their language is not spoken, is the wages system itself. This underlies the need for us to recognise our identical position with regards to the wages system, and work together, as workers across the world, across boundaries, to create a commonly owned planet where all can live in security.

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