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El_Pirata

A Cornerstone Of Gordonomics Laid Bare

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BBC2 screened an excellent investigation into the murky world of office cleaning tonight.

An army of some 250,000 mainly illegal workers cleans London's offices. Their illegal status allows cleaning contractors to pay them often below the minimum wage and generally treat them like dirt. Some of the exploitative practices were jaw-dropping - workers having a month's wages held back, and then reported to the immigration services and deported without being paid. There is always a steady stream of fresh workers to take their place.

What does this have to do with HPI? It reveals how a stream of illegal immigrant labour has allowed the government to give the economy - and house prices - the steroid boost of very low interest rates but avoid the usually accompanying problem of wage inflation. I believe the government has tacitly allowed and even encouraged "illegal" immigration for this end - we are an island so how hard can it be to control our borders if we really wanted to?

Brown needs economic cannon fodder to feed his miracle. They take out the bottom-upwards "push" factor on wages as they have no bargaining power by nature of their illegal status. In this sense, he is following the US model, which also relies on exploited illegal immigrant labour to keep wages down.

Two groups of people are being exploited here. Firstly the immigrants themselves- paid a pittance and refused even basic rights like sick leave.

Secondly the tax payer, who is subsidising via the dole the natives who would do these jobs if they paid a wage you could bring a family up on, rather than a wage that forces to sleep 6 to a room in a South London slum (I have seen this with my own eyes). Essentially the tax payer is subsidising the profits of the companies having their offices cleaned, by enabling them access to cheap labour.

Take the "illegal" labour out of the equation, and office cleaner wages would have to rise to the same level perhaps of a bus driver or similar semi-skilled job. The extra cost would barely make a dent on the profits of the likes of HSBC (seen in the programme), but this is the grasping nature of modern capitalism. 30 years ago, firms employed their own cleaners, with the same rights as other employees, but they did not all go bust.

How will this all end? Well, what is really drawing people to come and work here is the strength of the pound. If it was not worth so much compared to the currency of immigrants' country of origin, it would not be economically worthwhile to come and work here and send money home. I've seen this situation before in Argentina, which had a very strong currency in the 90s. When it collapsed, many of the newer arrivals from Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru returned home. I think sterling will take a big hit before too long, and as well as no longer enjoying cheap imports, our pool of cheap labour will dry up.

Personally I would like to see one of two things - either we control our borders properly and clamp down on the users of illegal labour to end exploitation. Or we open our borders entirely and do away with the notion of "illegality", giving back workers their bargaining power. The status quo benefits only the economic elite.

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we open our borders entirely and do away with the notion of "illegality", giving back workers their bargaining power

This would do the exact opposite; by allowing the world and his wife to come here unchecked, you would give the employers even more power to exploit and abuse their workforce, because they know that if one immigrant refuses to work inhuman hours for Third World pay, they can always find some other immigrant desperate enough to take the job. In this sense the uncontrolled immigration that you propose would be nothing more than trafficking in human misery. Other than that I totally agree with the gist of your post. The government know that without massive waves of cheap immigrant labour the rise in house prices would inevitably have led to pressure on wages to rise, and so set off a classic wage-price inflationary spiral. So what do they do? Instead of stabilising house prices, they opt for massive immigration instead (all Labour voters, of course).

Edited by IPOD

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Instead of stabilising house prices, they opt for massive immigration instead (all Labour voters, of course).

Not exactly, because most immigrants cannot vote. But the British-born workers they displace end up on benefits, and so chances are will vote Labour. So same end result.

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superb piece..

I am personally waiting to see the results of the figures I have requested about average pay in this country..

I have asked for all averages.. Mean, modal and median..

No one knows what media actually means..

Mean is the average wage.. the one we get told.. add it all up and divide by the number of people earning it..

the interesting one.. is the modal... what is the wage that most people in the country earn..

Also one point.. I am a network manager for a software house.. a very skilled job i can do with careful smoke and mirrors....;) But I once tried to drive a bus.. (private land..) and its not semi skilled.... it was the bloody scariest hardest thing I have tried to do... hats of to the buggers..

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But I once tried to drive a bus.. (private land..) and its not semi skilled.... it was the bloody scariest hardest thing I have tried to do... hats of to the buggers..

I feel less charitable towards them when they breeze past me at the bus stop ignoring my outstretched arm, but tough job, wouldn't like to try it myself.

Thanks for the compliments guys, I'm blushing.

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El_Pirata,

Great piece, tip of the iceberg in the scope and effects this has had, is having and the eventual outcome which will be unemployment and debt default for maybe 100,000's.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/pport/web/opi...NuYGUUQCgfs.asp

20/09/05

Irish Ferries jobs - Both sides must ensure fair wages

FOLLOWING the scandalous treatment of female Filipino workers on Irish ships, the writing was on the wall that cheap labour loomed on the horizon.

But seafaring workers were utterly surprised at the speed of the Irish Ferries move to implement a stringent cost-cutting programme.

Few anticipated yesterday’s sudden offer of voluntary redundancy packages to its 543 seafaring workers on the Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Pembroke routes.

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Personally I would like to see one of two things - either we control our borders properly and clamp down on the users of illegal labour to end exploitation Or we open our borders entirely and do away with the notion of "illegality", giving back workers their bargaining power. The status quo benefits only the economic elite

There is an argument which claims that if we open the borders we will have to disband "free" health and education etc. I can see the sense in that argument as most of the mentioned services in my part of London are at breaking point. Seems like a total free for all. Too scary for me. Incidentally, this is one of the few areas where the left and right agree .

Thanks for the compliments guys, I'm blushing.

Don't it was good.

Edited by RRP

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BBC2 screened an excellent investigation into the murky world of office cleaning tonight.

An army of some 250,000 mainly illegal workers cleans London's offices. Their illegal status allows cleaning contractors to pay them often below the minimum wage and generally treat them like dirt. Some of the exploitative practices were jaw-dropping - workers having a month's wages held back, and then reported to the immigration services and deported without being paid. There is always a steady stream of fresh workers to take their place.

What does this have to do with HPI? It reveals how a stream of illegal immigrant labour has allowed the government to give the economy - and house prices - the steroid boost of very low interest rates but avoid the usually accompanying problem of wage inflation. I believe the government has tacitly allowed and even encouraged "illegal" immigration for this end - we are an island so how hard can it be to control our borders if we really wanted to?

Brown needs economic cannon fodder to feed his miracle. They take out the bottom-upwards "push" factor on wages as they have no bargaining power by nature of their illegal status. In this sense, he is following the US model, which also relies on exploited illegal immigrant labour to keep wages down.

Two groups of people are being exploited here. Firstly the immigrants themselves- paid a pittance and refused even basic rights like sick leave.

Secondly the tax payer, who is subsidising via the dole the natives who would do these jobs if they paid a wage you could bring a family up on, rather than a wage that forces to sleep 6 to a room in a South London slum (I have seen this with my own eyes). Essentially the tax payer is subsidising the profits of the companies having their offices cleaned, by enabling them access to cheap labour.

Take the "illegal" labour out of the equation, and office cleaner wages would have to rise to the same level perhaps of a bus driver or similar semi-skilled job. The extra cost would barely make a dent on the profits of the likes of HSBC (seen in the programme), but this is the grasping nature of modern capitalism. 30 years ago, firms employed their own cleaners, with the same rights as other employees, but they did not all go bust.

How will this all end? Well, what is really drawing people to come and work here is the strength of the pound. If it was not worth so much compared to the currency of immigrants' country of origin, it would not be economically worthwhile to come and work here and send money home. I've seen this situation before in Argentina, which had a very strong currency in the 90s. When it collapsed, many of the newer arrivals from Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru returned home. I think sterling will take a big hit before too long, and as well as no longer enjoying cheap imports, our pool of cheap labour will dry up.

Personally I would like to see one of two things - either we control our borders properly and clamp down on the users of illegal labour to end exploitation. Or we open our borders entirely and do away with the notion of "illegality", giving back workers their bargaining power. The status quo benefits only the economic elite.

Even as an island it is very difficult to police our borders ..because of the sheer volume of traffic coming in and out .........However the government could easily target employers of illegal workers yet for the reasons you've described do not see stopping illegal immigration as a priority...........

Eastern Europeans from the accession states eg Lithuania and Poland and the Czech Republic who're entitled to work in this country are abandoning London to work elsewhere because they're competing for jobs with illegals from Russia who will bite an employer's hand off for a £2 an hour job in Central London!

Edited by Michael

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The programme was pretty good.

The workers involved may have been industrious, but the fact is they were here illegally, and in many cases doing the country out of NI and income tax (not that cleaners should have to pay income tax at all but that's another issue).

The sad thing is that immigration, whether it is legal or not, especially in the case of the immigrant non-skilled workers, hurts the poorest already living in UK.

Now here's how much things have changed - white people (i.e. the South Americans featured in the programme) were coming in and effectively slashing the wages of existing staff, often belonging to ethnic minority groups.

So, is it racist to call for a halt to immigration, or the sign of a right-on ANC-supporting, leftie-liberal?

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The programme was pretty good.

The workers involved may have been industrious, but the fact is they were here illegally, and in many cases doing the country out of NI and income tax (not that cleaners should have to pay income tax at all but that's another issue).

The sad thing is that immigration, whether it is legal or not, especially in the case of the immigrant non-skilled workers, hurts the poorest already living in UK.

Now here's how much things have changed - white people (i.e. the South Americans featured in the programme) were coming in and effectively slashing the wages of existing staff, often belonging to ethnic minority groups.

So, is it racist to call for a halt to immigration, or the sign of a right-on ANC-supporting, leftie-liberal?

The benefits and disadvantages of immigration are hard to measure but many studies concur with what you say about the people on the lowest rung of the job ladder being net losers .....as poor immigrants compete with them for jobs and housing..............

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I watched the same program.

I guess more and more people are realiseing the truth about wages in relation to capital.

The true is a limited pool of labour would soon see wage inflation, which is really all about having a reasonable wage in relation to capital. (can afford a home).

The likes of TTRTRs will just be people who own property then, and would themselves have to work to afford a reasonable income.

Its much more likely we see a rentier situation getting worse though I think as teh disenfranchisement of society continues.

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Secondly the tax payer, who is subsidising via the dole the natives who would do these jobs if they paid a wage you could bring a family up on, rather than a wage that forces to sleep 6 to a room in a South London slum (I have seen this with my own eyes). Essentially the tax payer is subsidising the profits of the companies having their offices cleaned, by enabling them access to cheap labour.

Indeed, the HSBC's and CitiBanks' of this world should practice what they preach and let market forces decide, if they paid people £10 an hour it would solve the problem and take the native underclass out of state dependency, theoretically.

In reality this is market forces acting, there is an endless pool of motivated immigrant labour that aren't shy of work and they have arrived with nothing and are determined to improve their lot so they can send money back home, or hope to establish themselves and bring their family here.

In a sense they have nothing to lose, they're on the lowest rung and can only go up, given the corrosive nature of the welfare state a 'native born' Britain has quite a lot to lose if they took up a job like this and abandoned the benefits system, the relative way we measure poverty today means they are far from the lowest rung. Even at £10 an hour I doubt they take up these jobs, not that this is any justification for not paying the immigrants a living wage.

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Well written.

I could disagree with a few points on here, but this basically sums up why I know enjoy HPC and the web more than the printed media.

I have read some far better insights into the world on this site than I have through the traditional media. No wonder Rupert Murdoch is getting worried.

Keep it up guys.

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Guest wrongmove

But this was on the BBC :o

Surely it is just dumbed down, goverment inspired, loonie left/radid right (delete as applicable to your politics)nonsense ?

We should all just ignore it, surely ?

:lol:

Edited by wrongmove

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But this was on the BBC :o

Surely it is just dumbed down, government inspired, loonie left/radid right (delete as applicable to your politics)nonsense ?

We should all just ignore it, surely?

:lol:

It was to a certain extent. Obviously a country should be ashamed at the way some / most of these people were treated. The analysis by the BBC focused mostly on the fact that these people deserved a living wage (Which everybody should). They didn't however look at the phoney fact that if migrants (illegal or legal) didn't do these jobs no-one else would. People would do the jobs if they got paid more. As far as I can see the majority of immigration only helps companies force down costs and isn't beneficial to the actually standard of living of a countries current population.

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There is an argument which claims that if we open the borders we will have to disband "free" health and education etc.  I can see the sense in that argument as most of the mentioned services in my part of London are at breaking point.

Whether or not you agree with the sort of market reforms Blair / New Labour are putting forward for public services it's easy to see the reasoning for doing so, whether they've found the right answers of course is another question. They're often accused of 'privatising' the system or prepearing the services for just that, I don't think this is the intention, hence all the "free at the point of delivery" mantra.

They know that if the systems are left to rot the middle-classes will simply abandon them en masse, this has already happened to a degree, many lower upper middleclass people including an alarming number (most?) Labour ministers and MP's send their kids to private schools and have private medical cover, same applies to many leaders of the trade unions, and the latter even offer private medical cover to their members. For example I don't begrude Dianne Abbot for wanting the best for her child, but if she doesn't consider the state system to be good enough for her son then what signal does that send? It's impossible to square this circle regardless of how valid or heart felt the justifications are.

People have rising expectations, for example they no longer bought British designed cars just to be patriotic because they had a reputation for being load of tat, they buy what's best regardless of it's origin. There is no obstacle preventing the same reasoning applying to health or education.

Once the 'core' of the system has migrated to private services on the US model then you have the political drag, people are going to start asking why they should still fund systems that are no longer 'universal', especially when their school fee's are going up so much. The middle classes brought New Labour into being and power and they decide whether the NHS has a future, sadly not the people who probably need it the most. So there would be longterm political consequences, there may be a lag but once people jump ship to the private sector the spirit of the system has gone. People may only want to fund a barebones system, enough to take the guilt away.

The Republicans in the US have followed this model somewhat, when they find something they dislike they undermine it through creating massive demand and egging it along with generous benefits whilst simultaneously and deliberately under-funding it.

The idea is by running up massive budget deficits in other areas the axe will have to fall on some spending eventually, otherwise in a few years half or the vast majority the tax take would just be spent servicing old debts.

So something has to take the strain, ideology dictates it cannot hit the heartlands, say the military, where cuts are impossible due to commitments, and pork barrelling means other areas cannot be compromised for political expediency, take the recent Transport and Energy Bills recently passed in the US, they're packed full of favours to political allies.

So the axe has to fall on other things, things that have never ideologically meshed anyway, we're seeing it now in the form of privatizing Social Security and Medicare reforms, Bush is pushing hard on this. Crisis or deliberately crafted crisis is the only thing that can justify drastic reform or what amounts to abolition.

So there is a deep interplay between allowing an endless pool of cheap labour, keeping costs and wage inflation down, whilst simultaneously creating a massive demand for struggling public services through a dispossed native underclass and an imported underclass that aren't paid a living wage. Cui bono?

This is happening in the UK, but largely by accident it seems.

Edited by BuyingBear

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For example I don't begrude Dianne Abbot for wanting the best for her child, but if she doesn't consider the state system to be good enough for her son then what signal does that send? It's impossible to square this circle regardless of how valid or heart felt the justifications are.

Though I'm sure that there would be loopholes, etc., if I were given the chance to create one new law, it would be along the lines that all MPs must use public services (health, education, public transport, etc.), and also fill in the equivalent of all the reports they foist on people such as teachers,

Peter.

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Though I'm sure that there would be loopholes, etc., if I were given the chance to create one new law, it would be along the lines that all MPs must use public services (health, education, public transport, etc.), and also fill in the equivalent of all the reports they foist on people such as teachers,

Peter.

They already side-step this thorny issue to a degree, Blair for example sent his kids to the London Oratory, whilst officially a state school it's basically a high achieving Catholic public school in everything but name. He also had them privately tutored. At least Dianne Abbot is open in her hypocrisy.

However if we packed the commons full of puritans and virtuous maidens then we'd have some very funny laws. Same if they started making honest people life-peers, at the moment when you see "Lord" before a name you instantly know they are either a crony that is on side or somebody who has entirely coincidentally made a donation to the Labour party, it works as a wonderful label.

Edited by BuyingBear

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Two groups of people are being exploited here. Firstly the immigrants themselves- paid a pittance and refused even basic rights like sick leave.

Secondly the tax payer, who is subsidising via the dole the natives who would do these jobs if they paid a wage you could bring a family up on, rather than a wage that forces to sleep 6 to a room in a South London slum (I have seen this with my own eyes). Essentially the tax payer is subsidising the profits of the companies having their offices cleaned, by enabling them access to cheap labour.

Some fair points but spoilt by illogicalities and overstatements. For example: [1] if the immigrants are here and working voluntarily how can it be said they are exploited? They are taking advantage of an opportunity; [2] since employment levels are extremely high in the economy, perhaps because of constrained labour cost inflation, tax-payers benefit from cheap immigrant labour. Far better than subsidising chronically high levels of unemployment as was the case when the UK's economy was managed like the soviet one. And the costs of goods and services including those bought by the government are less.

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They already side-step this thorny issue to a degree, Blair for example sent his kids to the London Oratory, whilst officially a state school it's basically a high achieving Catholic public school in everything but name. He also had them privately tutored. At least Dianne Abbot is open in her hypocrisy.

As I said, there would be loads of loopholes....

However if we packed the commons full of puritans and virtuous maidens then we'd have some very funny laws. Same if they started making honest people life-peers, at the moment when you see "Lord" before a name you instantly know they are either a crony that is on side or somebody who has entirely coincidentally made a donation to the Labour party, it works as a wonderful label.

And we don't at the moment :lol:

A long time ago, I remember seeing a programme that suggested that a true democracy would work on the basis of a ballot. We'd certainly try to improve our education system if there was a danger that anyone could get chosen to lead us :o

Peter.

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Guest Charlie The Tramp
I feel less charitable towards them when they breeze past me at the bus stop ignoring my outstretched arm, but tough job, wouldn't like to try it myself.

Well there`s an answer to that problem.

You can buy an ex London Route Master bus in running condition for 6k. :D

Drive on a car licence.

No Road tax ( over 25 years old )

Carry up to 8 non paying passengers.

Use bus lanes.

Cheap third party insurance.

Need big muscles no power steering. :(

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Some fair points but spoilt by illogicalities and overstatements. For example: [1] if the immigrants are here and working voluntarily how can it be said they are exploited? They are taking advantage of an opportunity; [2] since employment levels are extremely high in the economy, perhaps because of constrained labour cost inflation, tax-payers benefit from cheap immigrant labour. Far better than subsidising chronically high levels of unemployment as was the case when the UK's economy was managed like the soviet one. And the costs of goods and services including those bought by the government are less.

[1] They are exploited because they are paid less and work in worse conditions than legal workers purely because they don't have the correct papers. Maybe in their heads they still think they are getting a good deal (many indeed do) as they are earning a good wage in terms of their home country and managing to send money home, but nonetheless they are being exploited. If a native is not expected to work in those conditions, why should anyone else be? It also raises questions about the exploitative nature of the global economy, but that's a whole other debate so let's not go there.

[2] I believe that ultimately we do not benefit from the kind of steroid-boost that cheap immigrant labour gives an economy because while the economy may grow faster, ultimately it does not result in balanced economic growth. And it massively widens the gap between rich and poor. I would prefer slower economic growth based on gradual increases in productivity via improved technology and management. Take a look at the Scandinavian countries, they have highly successful economies that do not depend on the exploitation of cheap immigrant labour. And the gap between rich and poor is much narrower:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from...ent/4223148.stm

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Take a look at the Scandinavian countries, they have highly successful economies that do not depend on the exploitation of cheap immigrant labour. And the gap between rich and poor is much narrower:

I agree with this. Some would argue that their socialist politics maintains this, but I would disagree. It's clear that their poorer folk have been brought along with the improvements in technology etc. In the UK the poorer end of society have been dumped on and inflated.

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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