Come to the joint No Borders/CDAS "Right to Work" meeting at Friends Meeting House, Monday, November 29th, 7.30pm. Defend asylum-seekers against slave labour!
CAMPAIGN AGAINST IMMIGRATION SLAVERY
APPEAL TO TRADE UNIONS, LOCAL AUTHORITIES , AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR/ COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS AGAINST IMMIGRATION SLAVE LABOUR
Section 10 of Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 makes “hard case support” conditional on performance of community work. Why trade unions, voluntary sector groups and local authorities need to make a statement denouncing this clause and refusing to take advantage of such forced labour
A new section with severe implications was added at the last moment to the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act. This gives the Home Secretary power to make regulations providing for the continuation of the provision of accommodation for a failed asylum seeker to be conditional upon her or his performance of community services. Such “hard case support” is presently available under Section 4 of the 1999 Act in cases where a failed asylum seeker is unable to return home because of circumstances beyond his or her control – for instance because they are stateless or ill or (paradoxically in the case of a rejected asylum application) the country of return is too dangerous. Once regulations come into force this help will be dependant on what has hitherto been a punishment reserved for convicted criminals – namely obligatory community service.
Full benefits should be available to all irrespective of immigration status – and asylum seekers should have the choice to work (it is ironic that all other asylum seekers are forbidden to work).
Section 10 has been condemned by the Joint Committee on Human Rights of the House of Lords/House of Commons in its Fourteenth Report of Session 2003-04. In essence the criticism is one of slave labour. In particular the report attacks the section as being in breach of Article 4(2) of the European Convention of Human Rights (prohibition of forced labour), of Article 3 (prohibition on inhuman or degrading treatment) and of Article 14 (no discrimination on grounds of nationality).
Why trade unions must oppose this scheme
This legalisation of slave labour – transforming into slaves one of the most vulnerable and abused sections of our communities – is quite clearly something the labour movement must oppose. It is simply the logical conclusion of the super-exploitation of migrants, immigrants and refugees – a super exploitation that resulted in the deaths at Morcombe of the Chinese cocklepickers.
Why local authorities must oppose this scheme
It gets worse. The new section has an expectation that local authorities will collude in the implementation of this forced labour scheme. It states that “A local authority or other person may undertake to manage or participate in arrangements for community activities”. This is a reminder of the old Poor Laws where parishes would contract in forced labour from the work house.
Lord Rooker in the in the Committee stage of the 2004 Act said in the House of Lords that community service might involve refugees “contributing to the upkeep or maintenance of their own accommodation” This is a formula for the free repair of otherwise unlettable council (and voluntary sector or private property) to which asylum seekers are involuntarily “dispersed”– which can then be rented out at a profit once the slave is deported. In immigration newspeak Rooker called this “social cohesion”. It is more like social disintegration
Why the voluntary sector must oppose this scheme
It gets worse still. Lord Rooker also stated “We would be happy to see the voluntary and community…sectors involved in this way…consultation should take place with…the National Council for Voluntary Organisations”.
The Home Office is trying to ensure that voluntary organisations , like other welfare and social service providers, become agents of internal immigration control – through the increasing link between immigration status and welfare entitlements. The new section with its imposition of forced (slave) labour is politically the logical consequence of this.
What to do!
(1) All trade unions, local authorities and voluntary sector organisations should write to the Home Secretary, to object to Section 10, to state that your organisation will refuse to participate in it – and to make this correspondence public.
(2) All organisations should organise meetings against the exploitation of undocumented labour and for the non-implementation of Section 10
(3) Let’s develop this into a national campaign!
This leaflet has been produced by
NO-ONE IS ILLEGAL www.noii.org.uk 16 Wood St Bolton, BL1 1DY