Labour MP in ‘earning his keep’ shock!

July 15, 2008 at 9:14 pm | Posted in British Politics, Immigration | Leave a comment
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My local MP, Michael Clapham, is retiring from Parliament at the next election. They’re abolishing his seat, y’see, and I like to think that he’s too principled to campaign in the new, more Conservative constituency they’ve erected in its place. But before he leaves to cash in on his Parliamentary pension, Mick’s not quite finished trying to legislate from the back benches. His latest quest: providing better protection for migrant workers:

The Barnsley West and Penistone MP has tabled a hard-hitting Commons motion after it was claimed a foreign builder working at an NHS hospital was paid a paltry £8.80 for a 39-hour week.

Mr Clapham wants the Government to extend its flagship Gangmasters Act to the construction industry – and his Early Day Motion has already won the backing of 35 other MPs.

Introduced in October 2006, the Act makes it an offence to operate as a gangmaster and provide labour without a licence in the agriculture, horticulture and processing and packaging sectors.

If the campaign succeeds it will mean migrant workers in the building industry will similarly be protected, and employment agencies and subcontractors will have to pass minimum standards before they can supply labour.

Clapham was spurred into action after it was revealed that one immigrant working on the £600 million NHS King’s Mill Hospital in Mansfield was paid just £79.20 for a 63-hour week after rent, tool hire and utility bills had been deducted from his wages. Since this incident isn’t uncommon – the TUC has a lot of information about the exploitation of immigrant workers – I’d say it was about time the government gave Labour supporters a little good cheer and made the necessary reforms, particularly since the John Redwood wing of the Tory Party would like nothing more than to gut employees’ rights legislation. Bravo, Mr Clapham.

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