James O'Brien Tears Apart The Suggestion That Immigrants Are Lowering Wages With One Piece Of Evidence

12 September 2017, 13:31

The LBC presenter asked how Eastern European builders could be damaging the trades when they've experienced a 10 per cent pay rise in the last 12 months.

Today the Daily Mail reported that electricians are earning £156,000 a year as a result of a labour shortage.

The lack of skilled workers has also benefitted plumbers and bricklayers, as tradesmen's wages have risen as much as 10 per cent over the last 12 months.

James O'Brien asked how Polish and Romanian builders could be harming an industry experiencing such high rates of pay because of a worker drought.

James said he had, until now, found no evidence to counter claims that immigrants were harming builders
James said he had, until now, found no evidence to counter claims that immigrants were harming builders. Picture: LBC

James said: "People in the construction industry have assured me for years that they were being filleted by the arrival of labour from Eastern Europe. In particular Polish builders and Romanian builders.

"I didn't ever really challenge that analysis because I didn't have the evidence I needed.

"If someone rings me up an tells me hand on heart that they have had the proverbial kicked out of their income as a direct result of competition 'coming in' and 'people sleeping eight to a room.'

"You know, all the phrases we are familiar with.

"When people rang me up and said: 'You don't know what it's like in your middle class bubble. I'm a bricklayer and my life has been ruined by all these people coming over here and undercutting us.'

"I thought fair enough, there is evidence of damage being done to established livelihoods. Yet the more I looked for evidence, the last few years, the harder I found it to find.

"I'm not even sure the Mail would've printed this story if we weren't living in a post-referendum country, because it pushes the narrative in precisely the opposite direction to the one they ordinarily pursue.

"£156,000 a year, £3,000 a week, as they cash in on a chronic shortage of skilled labour."

Watch the full clip above.

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