Small town and rural Britain is being propped up by migrant workers from Eastern Europe. This is in stark contrast to earlier trends for migrant workers to settle in major cities.
The findings from the TUC report Propping up rural and small town Britain show that only 23 per cent are currently to be found in London, compared with official government figures of 43 per cent in 2001.
The main areas where migrant workers are heading are Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Kent and Sussex.
The shift in locations is due to a shortage of local workers to fill vacancies in hospitality, food processing and agriculture. These tend to be based away from urban areas.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “EU expansion has allowed these jobs now to be filled legally by Eastern European workers. But too often, employers are trying to get away with denying them their rights or exploiting them.”
The report makes several recommendations for improving work conditions:
– Right to register and seek redress against employers who try to stop them from doing so
– The Draft European Agency Workers Directive needs to be tightened up to stop unscrupulous employers using agency workers to undercut rates of pay
– Information on tax, National Insurance and benefits needs to be clearer, more detailed and easily available
– Unions need to mass embrace the new influx of workers to stop employers capability to exploit.