ACAS have just discovered that they live in Europe.
Having finally got round to reading the small print on the contracts at the Lindsey oil refinery, they have grudgingly agreed that TOTAL had not broken employment law by bringing in Italian and Portuguese workers.
They say that the campaign for fair access to jobs for British workers in the construction industry has nothing to do with the exclusion of other EU nationals from work in Britain.
It is in fact about protecting people working in Britain from exploitation regardless of where they come from. It is a class issue not a race issue.
Who was being exploited?, not British workers – their original complaint was that no British workers had been given jobs at Lindsey. It would surely come as a surprise to the workers clustered round their braziers to find that actually ACAS were campaigning for higher wages for those Italian and Portuguese workers and not to have them thrown out of the country so that ‘the lads’ could have their jobs!
Their concern now is that:
The long term effect of this interpretation of the law will be to drive wage levels down across the whole of Europe to the lowest levels of EU accession states.
and the solution is – I quote – “for the EU Commission to over turn the ECJ decisions in favour of a Posted Workers Directive with that protects ambient wage rates”. Quite apart from the mangled English in that sentence, is the more worrying lack of understanding of the hierarchy of power within the European Union. No decision of the European Court of Justice can be over ruled.
The days when the lads could march on Downing Street for beer and sandwiches with a government which would obligingly adapt the law to suit them have gone.