News that starts with the people who are normally asked last

S2E9 “Low-skilled”: The exploitation of Eastern European workers - with Alex Bulat

A post-Brexit Britain has halted visas to low-paid, so-called “low-skilled,” foreign workers - primarily coming from Central and Eastern Europe. Policymakers hoped to increase wages and decrease unemployment for Britain’s own workforce. Yet in some sectors, demand for labour is now outstripping supply.
Official figures show a rise in reports of modern slavery and labour exploitation. While the Home Secretary has blamed this on fake claims by Albanians, we look for answers in the UK’s troubled labour market. Is today’s “low-skilled” economy a higher-wage world for British workers, or a lower-wage world for undocumented ones?
Helena and Mathilda are joined in the studio by Alex Bulat - Labour Councillor and co-founder of the Migrant Democracy Project - to discuss how Central and Eastern Europeans are represented by politicians, pop culture and the press. We dissect headlines on the Home Secretary Suella Braverman's beef with Albanians, and ask whether the BBC is too scared to say ‘Brexit’.
The episode is hosted by Mathilda Mallinson (@mathildamall) and Helena Wadia (@helenawadia).

Lucila Granada, @lulagranada FLEX @FocusOnLabour

Dora-Olivia Vicol, Work Rights Centre @WORCrights

Marzena Zukowska @MarzenaZukowska and Magdalena Fabianczyk @MFabianczyk, POMOC @polishmigrants

Dr Kasia Tee @KasiaTee

Dr Alexandra Bulat @alexandrabulat


Impact of the end of free movement on the low-wage labour force

Low-skilled labour supply after Brexit

Post-Brexit work visa data

Employer survey: wage-raises; signing-up bonuses

Seasonal Worker Visa (SWV) data

Review of 2019 Seasonal Workers pilot

FLEX assessment of SWV exploitation risks

Low democratic participation of EU migrants in the UK


Researcher: Eliza Meller

Theme music: Samfire @soundofsamfire

Song: Bill Lloyd

Piano: Anait Karpova;

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