31 January 2009

Portuguese targeted by racism


by André Pereira

Approximately 30 Portuguese citizens are leaving their workplaces at the Lindsey refinery, which is owned by petrol company Total, due to the xenophobic protests from workers in Northeast England that went on a strike against the hiring of foreign labourers. As far as Correio da Manhã was able to establish, eleven of those Portuguese workers have already returned to Portugal, and another eleven are scheduled to arrive today. The rest will remain in Immingham, near Grimsby, waiting for the situation to be solved.

Contacted by Correio da Manhã, the Portuguese workers fear that the situation may become unsustainable, with the ongoing protests from the English. "Since we arrived, on the 18th of January, the English have been making gestures for us to go away, to return to our country. They tell us that the work posts are for English labourers and not for foreigners", the same worker reported, adding that "more Portuguese workers were supposed to arrive".

The situation started three days ago, when hundreds of English workers from the Lindsey refinery started a strike against the foreign labourers that had been hired by IREM company. Among the strikers, the slogan is "British jobs for British workers", a phrase by prime minister Gordon Brown. Yesterday, the movement spread throughout the whole of Great Britain, with xenophobic protests in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Derek Simpson, the secretary general of UNITE union, has already appealed for Gordon Brown to intervene, saying that "the situation is a powder barrel waiting to explode".

Portuguese Embassy has received no complaints

Contacted by Correio da Manhã, a source at the Secretary of State for the Portuguese Communities asserted that the Portuguese Embassy in London had received no complaint from the approximately 30 Portuguese workers at Lindsey refinery, in Immingham, in Northeastern England. "We have no knowledge that the Portuguese Embassy received any request for assistance from any Portuguese citizen in Grimsby", it said, guaranteeing that the situation is being followed with special attention.
Details
400 thousand in the United Kingdom - The Portuguese community in the United Kingdom is above 400 thousand, according to numbers that were divulged by the Portuguese Embassy in London.

50 thousand emigrated - In 2006, approximately 50 thousand nationals left Portugal for the other countries of the European Union, according to numbers from the EU statistics cabinet. Twenty thousand emigrated to Angola, Switzerland, Andorra and the United States, other important destinies.


source: Correio da Manhã, 31.01.2009

14 comments:

  1. Joana....great site, also great work in keeping upto date with mccann/freeport etc. i read here often.....but surely people understand it is not racism for british people to defend their jobs. here in the UK we have many people out of work, suffering low esteem, struggling to make ends meet. the racism if any is against the english here im afraid! these jobs have been given to foreigners only in the UK.....so so wrong.
    cheaper workers who have been staying on a ship? when they have earnt the higher money from here,they return back to a country where it is cheaper, meanwhile our youth who want to build familys and live here are left jobless. mojo

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  2. I agree with Anon. from 01/02/09 02:03

    I do not see this as racism at all but citizens of a country looking out for their own economic interests.

    To make a comparison, if I may, allowing persons for other countries to come in to your own country to do work for lesser wages, while people in your own country are out of work and could fill those very same jobs is like...

    Leaving your very young children at your vacation apartment alone at night while going out dining and drinking and then when one of them turns up "missing," deciding to promote changes to help in finding missing children.

    Bottom line is, people have to look after their own needs and responsibilities first.

    Too many companies (and governments) are willing to sell out their own countrymen for a better bottom line. People will get taken advantage of if they don't stand up and cry foul when they are being screwed. Protesting may not change anything but it's better than doing nothing at all.

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  3. Para mim significa , além da "xenofobia", mais a luta por um emprego.

    Resta perguntar:

    SERÁ QUE OS DE UK VÃO AGORA RECEBER E ACEITAREM O QUE RECEBEM OS TRABALHADORES DE OUTROS PAÍSES?
    E TRABALHAR O MESMO ?
    E TÃO BEM?

    Vejamos a confusão que os "trabalhadores agora aparecidos" vão criar na economia de Uk; os próprios.

    E,por cá? Não se ouviu sempre o mesmo?
    E,por cá,agora não irá acontecer o mesmo?Ou pior!
    *********************
    Em Espanha 2 naturais da República Dominicana apareceram "mortos"!
    El País.

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  4. People from other countries coming to work in the UK is just the same as British citizens going to work in other countries around the world. What happened to the Labour slogan something along the lines of one country many cultures! Thought racism was supposed to be a thing of our ignorant past!

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  5. WHY do these companies hire foreigners? Why do they hire reliable hard working people?
    Because what is available in this country is a bunch of arrogant lazy lot who suddenly wake up to the fact that UK is screwed up by bankers and the illusion of the empire is dead for good.
    Yes, it is racism. There is no other way to call it. Yes it is also a very coward attitude because these idiots are attacking the most vulnerable: the immigrants who are here in a contract for work. Not in social benefits living in rented houses which cost a fortune to UK tax payers.
    Why not attacking banks and bankers who are the ones that put all of us in this mess?

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  6. Zodiac , you are right but to change mentality is a cultural thing and very dificult to change. It needs a ,ong orocess and a long time.
    Asyou know, if not racismbut xenofoby is a deep cultural thing for english. I dare to say, worse then in germany.
    Even thought if UK is in UE i think they have to accept the rules, UK citizens can work free in UE countries,so they have to allow the same to the others.
    Hope this problem can be solved soon without violence

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  7. Interesting subject you touch here....
    indeed as some commenters indicate, this has nothing to do with racism....

    it is in fact a protest against globalism and the corporate-multinational hunt for short term profit....
    that also caused the credit-crunch !

    All approved by our dear governments that are actually an extension of these global-firms

    how low did we go !!

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  8. think about this:
    - Portuguese go work in the UK,
    - people from Ukraine go work in Portugal.....
    - and I'm sure others from an even poorer country will go work in Ukraine...

    crazy world eh ?

    there must be a more sensible way to spread welfare and prosperity over the world

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  9. Work, and the flow of workers, within the boundaries of the European Union has been consecrated as FREE. Workers of states that are members of the EU are free to migrate within the boundaries of the union, and they have the exact same rights and obligations as the nationals of any one of these countries.
    If the UK wants to isolate itself from the EU (which it should never have joined in the first place, because it just doesn't have the adequate profile to join other countries in any sort of union) then it should leave, once and for all.
    The UK chose to remain out of the Economical Union and the results of that choice have become very evident over the last year, with the gallopant devaluation of the British Pound - which could have been avoided if the UK had joined the Euro.
    If the majority of British citizens don't want foreign workers on their soil, including workers from EU countries who are just as entitled to work in the UK as in any other EU country, then please be so kind as to leave the EU. It's not as if the vast majority of the British ever understood what it is all about (small example: the incredibly ignorant 'demand' for the Portuguese borders to be closed after Madeleine McCann went missing), so maybe it's time to hold a referendum in the UK and ask people what they want.
    But then, deal with the consequences and leave the rest of the EU in peace.
    Other countries should consider the possibility of sending their British immigrants back to the UK, where they can go and work in factories (something that they would refuse to do in the countries of their choice) or live on social benefits, which is a much more comfortable choice.
    Hard times tend to bring out the worst of instincts. When it's about sheer survival, we tend to become a lot less polished and to forget about 'political correctness'.
    But to blame the problems on a few dozen foreign workers, while millions of British nationals live off benefits, in state-paid houses and with absolutely no intent whatsoever to do a single day of work in their lives - that's shifting the blame and failing to address the REAL reason why the UK is sinking fast and the fabulous British Pound is losing value by the hour.
    A global crisis, a national crisis needs to be addressed seriously. To blame 'the foreigners' and to shut down the country in isolationism seems to be counterproductive - not to say it's downright dumb.
    And once you get rid of 'the foreigners' and you realise it's not solved anything, what comes next? You scrutinise the genealogical trees up to the fifth generation, and throw out anyone who is not 'pure'?

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  10. I would like to amend my comments. As an American, I will admit ignorance of the laws applying to working within the European union. If I were more familiar with them, I would likely would have worded my post differently or not posted at all.

    I do stand by my words that governments/corporations will take advantage of people at every opportunity in order to increase their own profits.

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  11. Jolie, without wanting to sound like a dangerous right-wing extremist, corporations ARE about making money, they ARE about profits. Nobody opens a business with the intent of making zero profits, or even losing money. The essence of business is profit; what distinguishes healthy business practises from wild capitalism is that ideally, a business will make money and generate profits AS WELL AS producing work places, thus enabling its workers to make a decent living on an adequate wage; and profits will not be entirely taken out of the firm by its owners but partly (ideally largely) reinvested in the expansion and improvement of said business. Reality may not always match this notion, but that's another problem; there are state and market mechanisms that can help to ensure this 'symbiosis' between employers and employees functions well - and both sides can actually prosper, without feeling guilty about it.
    Capitalism does NOT HAVE TO be about the exploration of the masses. A healthy economy heavily relies on healthy firms and corporations and a balanced, fair work market.

    Governments, of course, should not be about making money at all - but it seems that more and more, we see examples of how it isn't so.

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  12. Anon(01/02/09 14:10) thanks for your explanation of the theoretical side of capitalism....
    I'm glad that in the end of your story you also conclude that the result of all this (we are i now)is rather messy..
    To get out of this we need governments that are willing to regulate with the common goal collective progress (instead of perverse individual enrichment)

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  13. KC, it all boils down to human nature, doesn't it? And that's where it all fails, as well.
    Orwell explained it rather nicely.

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