Unions and immigration officials

Submitted by cathy n on 16 October, 2008 - 3:03 Author: Matthew Thompson

It is obviously welcome as Robin Sivapalan reports (Solidarity 3/139) that the campaign against immigration controls is being taken into the trade union movement, given the way these laws are used against the struggles of migrant workers on the Tube and elsewhere.

However the fact that the campaign will be meeting with PCS members in the Borders Agency needs expanding on. The Socialist Party-led group executive in the Department for Work and Pensions should be calling on members to refuse to check the national insurance numbers of migrant workers on behalf of the bosses. But what about PCS members who are immigration officials?

The difference between these two groups of workers is clear. Whereas we would radically reform the benefits system administered by PCS members in DWP, the only answer to immigration controls is to scrap them and the jobs of those who enforce them. It is impossible to issue an appeal to these PCS members to stop carrying out raids and deportations: that’s their job!

It is another indictment of the “left leadership” of PCS that they allow these people to remain members, never mind refusing to criticise what they do. That they concentrate on the sectional interests of these workers for electoral advantage against the right-wing in the union exposes their claim to be Marxists and makes them just as much an obstacle to the campaign against immigration controls as the scab Immigration Services Union they hypocritically condemn.

Matthew Thompson

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