Brexit or Exploitation (Both!)

The Financial Times (not my normal daily reading honest) ran a story today about how Brexit is now causing staff shortages, especially within the farming sector, factories and restaurants.


Now I have no doubt that many EU citizens have decided to head home given the xenophobia of many in the UK right now, mainly in England if BBC Question Time is anything to go by, but also including far too many politicians from the unionist parties down South but even here in Scotland. When you add in the refusal of the Conservative Government to guarantee EU citizens status in the UK, they would rather use them as some kind of EU migrant human shield in the Brexit negotiations, is it any wonder that many have decided to get out while the going is good.

The article also goes on to say that there will be price rises as a result of this shortage and I just thought, of course it will, when doesn’t anything in this country not result in price rises, and people go on about American business being money grabbing bastards.

The story also got me thinking that this isn’t really about Brexit, it is about poverty pay and exploitation by British employers, especially in the farming industry. The majority of this work is very hard, physical and back-breaking work, which pays the minimum wage of £5.30 per hour for those under the age of 22 years and £6.70 for those over 25 years, poverty wages by anyone’s standards.

On top of poverty pay you also have the disgusting practices that see employment agencies charging £7.00 per shift for transport. An investigation by the Independent found that some farms charged EU workers £31.22 for a pod or tent to sleep in, £35.00 for so called pastoral care, £2.75 for entertainment which consisted of access to Wi-Fi. The list goes but someone working a 40-hour week would be paid around £165, or £179 if over 25, after tax and breaks were deducted, how the hell does that pay any rent or buy you food. One worker described his job as “Welcome to hell. This is the worst job I have ever done. Your knees will kill you by the end of the day.”

I have commented before that too many scumbags in this country, including the current Conservative Government, will see Brexit as an excuse to further erode the gains that poor people made in the last 100 years in relation to terms and conditions of employment. The headline below will become all to real once the Tories really get going.


Whatever your views on Brexit it is clear that EU workers have been exploited, Brexit will no doubt continue that trend but now they will be looking at you, hell mend you if you are currently looking for work and having to access DWP in this country, your card will be well and truly marked.



    • grumpyscottishman


      I’m not talking about Brexit per say, I’m talking about exploitation and poverty pay. Brexit will be used as the excuse to lower these standards even more, the fact that those conditions could happen when a member of the EU says a lot about the EU I suppose and more about this country. My Brexit vote was about democracy, it always was. The EU needs to reform and won’t but that is a different argument already covered.

      Thanks for commenting.


  1. East Neuker

    Bruce, the other thing Brexit will do is allow the right wing government to destroy the workers rights and employment legislation currently protected by EU membership, allowing much more exploitation by unscrupulous employers. I think they will destroy the lot – unfair dismissal, minimum wage, holidays, sick pay,etc…. You name anything that protects employees or costs employers and they will, eventually, destroy it. They are also setting out the ground for means testing state pensions.

    This, among other horrors, is what Brexit means. I don’t buy your “democracy” stuff. Your going to get no democracy in Scotland from the Tories. They’re even making noises about abolishing Holyrood. It may not be what you intended, but it’s what your (and all) leave votes actually mean in the end…….and you were warned.

    • grumpyscottishman

      East Neuker

      I think they will try to get away with some of what you say but they won’t push too far too soon, people can be pushed too far and will take action. I would be very surprised if they try much more with pensions, it’s where the Tory core vote comes from and they lose that they lose elections. Things like contracts, terms and conditions, maternity rights were in place before the UK was a member of the EU and I don’t see that changing too much. Paternity rights might change but those are rarely taken up by the vast majority of men due to them being very poor anyway. The working hours directive has too many loopholes either way and we have never reached the equal pay guidelines to date. Atypical workers rights have been avoided due to agency workers employed as self employed and the EU has not really tested this at all as it takes place in the EU also. Public procurement might be an area that could be exploited to drive wages down but again this takes place anyway and again with people being employed as self employed being a way around this.

      So while I accept that the EU has made important in-roads into employment conditions that have improved the lot of some I do think that they get got around them too often and these loop holes have never been challenged as they also happen in other EU countries. The simple reality for me is that other EU countries have better social protection and social security that goes above and beyond the EU regs but they were in place for many years. The EU has also seen some countries roll back their protections like Germany and entitlements for migrants, but I accept it won’t get better but how much worse it gets remains to be seen and the EU, in my opinion doesn’t protect us from that anyway in the UK. I think my biggest fear would be the continued erosion of union rights in this country.

      The democracy argument is one for another day maybe and something I might blog about in future.

      Thank you for your insights, they are always food for thought.


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