They come over here and steal our jobs… (don’t they?)

8 08 2009

ripple effect

RIPPLINGBALLS

Today’s Teletech jobs announcement says something else about the community around us. This call centre believes it can find a satisfactory pool of professional people who are fluent in either Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish or Turkish.

The availability of such languages is the result of migration. Would this company have invested here without the presence of migrant labour? What will the investment mean?

Well, if all 80 receive a £20k pa wage, then migrant labourers will be drawing c.£1.6 million in wages to the local economy. A portion of that £1.6m will be sloshing around locals retailers, restaurants, bars, transport, landlords etc etc.

The Teletech jobs would not have arrived without migrant labour. This additional wealth would have been lost to the local community had the idiots behind this got their way. So, er,  they don’t come over here and steal our jobs, do they?

In truth the people who carried out those attacks in South Belfast will likely be unemployed or in low skilled jobs (disenfranchised/disregarded working class). This group will view the influx of new labour as direct and unwelcome competition. So much rides on helping people to compete for better jobs. Upskilling the local workforce is part of how we deny racism the space to grow.

The recession has necessarily got the government focusing on apprenticeships and STEM skills etc. Yes this policy priority will have an economic effect, but it will also deliver a public good. Parcelling off anti-racism to statutory agencies is not the complete answer. Instead, investing in neighbourhoods and in the local workforce improves quality of life and advances community cohesion.

The devolved government gets alot of heat. Justifiably so when guff like this circulates. (And incidentally, wtf was this in aid of Sammy?) But the work of DEL and DETI is important in empowering and equipping communities. The benefits of DEL and DETI policies ripple out.

Sammy Wilson is clearly daft as a brush.  A joke. But while he enjoys getting coverage for being the court jester his comments obscure the good job government departments are doing (which it is often very difficult to convey).

Progress in tackling racism is being made and the evidence can be found inside places like DEL, DETI and Teletech. If ever the mischief that foreigners steals local jobs could be put to rest then it is today. (And do shut up Sammy.)

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