Your letters: Myths of Europe and immigration

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In last weeks Readers’ View column there was a letter from Paul Foyster, headlined ‘Vote is your decision so make it wisely’.

I agree that the electorate will be making an important decision in May 2015 so let’s look at some of the myths that are being spread to divide us.

Mass immigration: on January 1 journalists flocked to airports across the country – but the mythical hordes failed to appear.

Myth – immigration causes unemployment. It is the booms and slumps of capitalism, rather than immigration that cause unemployment. Immigrants did not slash a million jobs from the public sector, preside over the mass job losses at Barclays or Portsmouth dockyard, or push through hundreds of thousands of job losses in manufacturing.

A million more people are unemployed in Britain today than fours years ago. That is not because of a surge in immigration, it is because the world economy went into deep crisis, and bosses and bankers expected workers to pay the price.

Myth – migrants cause the housing crisis. There are 900,000 empty homes in Britain. Most of them are in the private sector and their owners won’t sell them because the recession means they won’t make enough profit.

What has Europe ever done for us? As it happens quite a lot. Every day, thanks to Europe, our workplace is a safer place to work. Sickness/holiday – you don’t lose holiday rights accrued during periods of ill health. Equal pay – men and women must be paid the same for doing the same job or of equal value.

Holidays – thanks to Europe, UK workers got the legal right to holidays for the first time in 1998.

Time off work – your boss cannot force you to work more than 48 hours a week and must give you regular breaks. Fairness at work – it doesn’t matter if you are full-time or part-time, temporary or permanent, all workers get the same rights.

Parental leave – new parents are entitled to time off work to look after their children. Maternity rights – Statutory maternity leave of up to a year. Discrimination – protection from being discriminated against for your age, gender, race, sexual orientation or if you are disabled.

So there is a lot to think about here and don’t let us forget our valued NHS. I would like to know who gave the government permission to sell OUR NHS off?

The next Labour government will repeal the Health and Social Care Act, ensuring that the NHS is the preferred provider. Only Labour can save our NHS.

Rodney Sadd

Local Labour party member