Saturday, 31 January 2009

The EU and Bankers and Competition When It Suits Them

I'm really annoyed by the French company Total awarding a construction contract to an Italian company which has imported Italian and Portuguese tradesmen to do the work when skilled British workers are unemployed. Europhiles will argue that free movement of labour is one of the cornerstones of the Common Market/ EU and I will acknowledge that many British construction workers worked in West Germany in the eighties ("Auf Wiedersehen, Pet") during the recession. But, conveniently, that was at a time of a skilled construction worker shortage in Germany. This time, there is a worldwide recession and the costs and benefits are unbalanced. British workers, who need to earn salaries sufficient to pay British mortgages (do you claim the credit for house price inflation, Gordon Brown?) are being forced to compete with foreign workers who are financially prepared to live on floating hotels/accommodation barges. That would indicate that their outgoings are significantly less than their British rivals.
Which brings me to the legions of foreign workers in the City. Do they live on accommodation barges moored alongside Canary Wharf and earn less than British finance workers? No, they are paid the same because the free market requires that the best people are paid the going rate. No competition there. But then they are in the blessed banking and financial services industry whose sins and errors are instantly forgiven and forgotten by them and paid for by the rest of us.
So here is my possible solution to the unfairness of the present system of free movement of labour from low wage economies to countries with a higher standard of living (and vice versa for work): increase the thresholds for goods and services contracts that must be advertised in the European Contract Journal and, in the longer tem, adapt the PDO and GI systems for foodstuffs and other items to "ringfence" products of strategic industries in individual countries. Oh, and house bank executives on Thames rubbish lighters prior to their trial and hangings for treason to reintroduce the feelgood factor to the rest of the nation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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