Sainsbury’s says immigrants have ‘better work ethic’ than Britons

November 14th, 2007 - 1:54 am ICT by admin  
“We have found migrant workers to have a very satisfactory work ethic, in many cases superior to domestic workers,” the company said in evidence to a parliamentary inquiry on the economic impact of immigration.

“We believe that this results from their differing motivations, they want to learn English, or send money home to their families. They tend to be more willing to work flexibly, and be satisfied with their duties, terms and conditions and productivity requirements. In the long term, this could have a positive effect on their domestic colleagues,” it added.

According to the Daily Mail, a Sainsbury spokesman said its use of immigrant labour in retail and distribution had “grown significantly” in the past two years, though it does not keep figures for how many of its 150,000-strong workforce are migrants.

The growth in numbers has coincided with the arrival of more than 700,000 workers from Poland and other Eastern European countries since EU expansion in 2004.

Business leaders say that, in many cases, highly-qualified graduates are willing to take unskilled jobs in supermarkets, doing shelfstacking or other manual work. Others have risen quickly to managerial posts.

The supermarket chain stressed that it had seen a “positive shift in culture where migrant workers have been introduced, which has led to a more diverse workforce fostering a more engaged group of workers”.

Sainsbury’s said that more could be done to help migrant workers get advice on housing, banking, language and understanding the UK culture.

It said that things like familiarity with the language, changing signs at its warehouses and promoting an understanding of health and safety requirements were some aspects that it would be looking into.

However, the British Chambers of Commerce has warned that a generation of British children is in danger of going “from school straight to welfare” while migrants fill skill shortages in the economy.

Director general David Frost said 500,000 18 to 24-year-olds were out of work.

Professor David Blanchflower, who sits on the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, suggested to the peers that immigration from Eastern Europe had dampened down wage growth because it had increased the “fear of unemployment” because more workers were available for jobs. (ANI)

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