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TUC submission to Migration Advisory Committee: EEA workers in the UK labour market

Report type
Consultation response
Issue date
Key findings

-Similar numbers of migrants are employed in manufacturing and hotels/accommodation - but weekly pay in manufacturing is £339 higher as more workers in this sector are covered by union agreements.

-In agriculture, pay and conditions for both migrant and UK workers has deteriorated as a result of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board in 2013.

-Employers in the majority of sectors facing skills shortages have failed to adequately increase investment in skills since 2011.

The TUC has submitted evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) consultation on EEA migrants in the UK labour market.  In the submission the TUC highlights:

  • EEA migrants help keep our public services running and work in key sectors; make a net contribution to the Exchequer and are valued members of our communities.  Unions have hundreds of thousands of EEA migrant members.
  • EEA citizens in the UK must be given the right to remain immediately.
  • Migrant workers deserve decent treatment and fair pay at work just as UK workers do - migrants must receive equal treatment to the resident workforce.
  • Both migrant and UK workers are at risk of exploitation due to gaps in the law on employment rights, combined with weak enforcement of employment rules.
  • Poor conditions and low pay are particularly prevalent in sectors with low collective bargaining coverage such as hotels and restaurants.
  • More employers must collectively bargain with unions to guarantee all workers receive decent pay and good conditions at work.
  • The government must act to prevent undercutting through stronger enforcement of employment rules and closing loopholes in the law which make workers vulnerable to exploitation.   
  • The government and too many employers are using EEA and other migrant workers as a substitute for long-term investment in training.
  • Significantly additional funding is needed for training, industry and public services to support all workers and communities. 
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