The current “debate” about immigration focuses on economic arguments, with the bosses arguing that they need “skilled migrants” to fill gaps in the workforce. This is a partial truth, the other side of the coin is that migrant workers are also needed to do the low-status “unskilled” jobs as cleaners, security guards, agricultural labourers and workers in food processing plants which “native” workers can’t be dragooned into doing. However, the argument that immigration is “good for the economy” is not one we should adopt. “The economy” is the value of what the ruling class own, increased through our exploitation; anarcho-syndicalists reject the social democratic view that capitalism can be managed for the good of the working class.
Workers in contract cleaning face low wages, a lack of basic employment rights, bullying management and victimisation for union activities. However, especially among Latin Americans, self-organisation has sustained struggles against the un-scrupulous multinational companies who employ them, and against the immigration controls which are used to sack un-wanted workers and victimise union acti-vists. Those struggles highlight the inadequacy of the “organising model” of trades unionism promoted by the likes of Unite!