CBI: First response of firms to downturn is to reduce dependency on agency staff 4th February 2009: Lack of jobs in Britain has forced many nationals of new EU states to go back home with the number of skilled migrants from outside Europe expected to decline.
Mr. John Cridland, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Deputy Director General told MPs that the number of migrant labour in Britain will decline abruptly as demand for goods and services fall, The Guardian reported.
Mr. Cridland suggested that the market will correct itself but the increase in the rate of unemployment cannot be avoided. “I expect that, when we have the next report from the (Home Office’s) migration advisory committee on the needs for skilled labour, we will not see the same need for non-EU Labour in the same numbers because of the need to provide as many opportunities as possible for the unemployed,” he said.
In the remarks to the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Mr. Cridland said that the first response of many firms to the downturn was to reduce their dependency on agency staff majority of who are migrant workers.
On his part Mr. Paul Temple of the National Farmers’ Union said that the temporary nature of the work and the fact that many unemployed people in Britain were in the wrong place with the wrong skills deterred them from taking the jobs.
While responding to a question from the Labour MPs on the committee whether the CBI supported the EU’s posted workers directive which lies at the heart of the current strikes against migrant workers, Mr. Cridland said that the companies involved were acting lawfully and there was not evidence of discrimination against British workers.
Mr. David Winnick, the Labour MP for Walsall termed apologists those who argued that British workers could move to other European states for work and wondered of what use would be to somebody with a family and a mortgage.
But Mr. Cridland replied that it was important at a time of rising unemployment to improve the skill levels of British workers to ensure they could take advantage of vacancies that existed.