Sunday, October 25, 2009

Globalization of England: British Jobs for British, < Polish, Asian, Indian, Immigrant> Workers

I was talking to my friend who lives London over the weekend who was describing his plan for move. His family was moving across town from Southall to a new place in Wembly. He remarked that the movers he had contracted were no polish, adding that he selected movers who advertised they hired only British blokes for the jobs. His remark also triggered an intense debate with him on the impact of Polish and East European immigrants in London and UK in general. Knowing my friend, I realized that his remark was not racist but certainly nationalist.
I recall the years I spent in London and Manchester in the mid-nineties when a similar debate over the influx of South-Asians, Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans, in England. After moving from UK, I have sporadically kept track of events there, especially as it pertains to Britain’s role in global economy, immigration and similar aspects. The growing strength of European Union, Eurozone,, European Economic Area and the council of Europe has also meant freer movement of goods and services, and more importantly people across Europe.

The visible aspect of globalization and EU, especially the influx of East Europeans in UK is perhaps the most jarring to the media and average Joe Bloke (ref articles below). The non-visible part, movement of billions of Euros, Pounds and Dollars in contracts for European giants, say Airbus, that translates to real economic value and jobs in Western Europe is downplayed by digerati and the media. For instance, Airbus employs around 57,000 people at sixteen sites in four European Union ountries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain. Airbus also sells to Poland as it does to other countries around the globe. If Airbus were to setup the next plant in Poland, perhaps fewer Poles would find the need to immigrate across Europe.

For those living across the pond, the story perhaps sounds familiar: replace EU with NAFTA and Polish with Mexican (or Latin American). Steve Hamm, author and journalist for Business Week stirs similar conversation in his blog while talking of Indians in America.

Bottomline: The global downturn is certainly making politicians in the west reassess their views on Globalization, especially the visible aspects of globalization that impacts man on the street: jobs; which in turn translates to sentiments and most importantly Votes.

Interesting articles/blogs: