The government’s ‘van of hate coming to a street near you’ campaign has been branded as ‘vile’ by Unite, the country’s largest union, today (Tuesday 30 July).
Unite called on the government to jettison the pilot scheme in London which has seen vans with mobile billboards parading the message: “Go home or face arrest” – and address the real problem facing UK workers which is the collapse of living standards and the imposition of poverty wages.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This is a vile act by a government that demeans its office by scrabbling around in the gutter with these stunts. This must not be rolled out nationwide, as some have suggested.
“This is also very dangerous and divisive politics – ministers are giving permission to hate with these vans which is utterly irresponsible.
“This flawed initiative, vigourously promoted by immigration minister Mark Harper, is not directed at offering help to the undocumented community, but planting the seed in people's minds that they can legitimately blame those often more desperate than themselves for society’s ills and a flatlining economy.
“We are seeking legal advice as to whether this does break the law - and we urge politicians of all parties to speak out against these tactics. The government may sense a victory on the back of this, but it will govern a more divided and frightened nation.
“The Tories are the nasty party that, despite David Cameron’s torrent of smooth words, never really went away.
“Ministers should start to talk more honestly about the fact that the UK needs migrant workers to run its services and numerous studies have shown migrants are net contributors to the economy.
“The real problem is how the collapse in living standards among the UK population is breeding anger. Instead of whipping this up, ministers ought to be coming up with constructive policies that will help people through these tough times.
“It is not migrants who drive down wages - it is employers who won't pay the rate for the job – that’s why Unite has repeatedly called for an immediate £1.50 an hour increase in the national minimum wage.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.