I think I’ve perhaps touched on this a wee bit earlier but what I am seeing at the current moment in time, and this is May 2009 that we’re speaking, that we’ve had certain workers that have been here four or five years. People say: “Workers only want to come and work two years and then go back to their own country.” Well, that’s not necessarily the case. People want to settle here in the UK. That’s their choice. Freedom of movement allows that. What I am saying is that a lot of the workers, when they arrive, do go to somebody who does temporary work and then they may get taken on full-time. But unfortunately in the current economic climate: “Who’s job is safe?” Nobody knows if their job’s safe, more than anything else. And what I’m actually saying is that people who have been not so much doing the more manual tasks but more towards the skilled tasks, finding that their jobs are no longer safe and they’re trying to find work. The other thing I’m noticing is that indigenous workers are now having to look for the more manual tasks as well because there are people looking for work and they’re going to have to go where work is, and unfortunately seasonal work, in particular, can sometimes satisfy people temporarily if they’re between jobs or whatever the case may be. We’re going into a fruit picking season. We have farmers, who have previously relied on migrant workers because they couldn’t get home-based workers to pick their fruit. For all I know there may be a huge number of home-based workers which may be Scottish, English, other workers or else migrant workers who have previously settled here, are now coming to go and knock on the door of the farmer and saying: “Can I get work from you?” I think we’re going to see that this year, particularly in the current economic climate.

  • Ian Japp
Location:
Edinburgh
Date:
Wednesday 6th May 2009
Reference:
SWI2009/002