Slave labour on the rise in
From the complaints that have been made to me, it seems that some of our legal foreign workers are being exploited mercilessly.
It is not as if this activity is new to
According to the Chief Minister’s PS, Foster Rogers, the number of work permits issued last year is 4,200. That is a lot of work permits for little
Some of our Anguillian building contractors learned from our fishermen. The construction industry is the major engine that drives the economy of
One, Vincentians, Dominicans, and St Lucians are docile and manageable. Unlike some annoying Anguillians who insist on being treated with fairness. Actually, best of all, these foreigners live in a state of perpetual terror of deportation.
Two, they are better qualified and more skilled than the average Anguillian unemployed construction worker, drug-dependent, semi-literate, lazy, school-reject that he tends to be. Technical workers from off-island go to trade school and get a certificate of competence. Ours are more likely to just drop out of school and demand a pass by the nearest rum shop at 7:00 in the morning on the way to work.
Three, they are so grateful for a job. We can pay them half of what we bill for their work, and pocket the balance. And, sweetness of all, we can make them in their desperation pay for their own work permits.
Four, we do not have to pay them their statutory holiday pay or overtime rates. Unless we get caught for not paying it. And, then, the worst thing that will happen is that we’ll be forced to pay them what we should have paid in the first place. With no penalty or disincentive. In this way, government actually encourages employers to rip off their workers.
Five, we can easily avoid the need to pay social security for them. We can even deduct from their pay their social security contribution, and then pocket it. Who in Social Security bothers to check construction sites? When was the last time you heard of anyone in
Six, job-hopping is strictly prohibited. They are indentured to you for the duration of the time they are permitted to be remain and be exploited in
Seven, the moment they complain, with the help and cooperation of the Immigration Department and the Labour Department you can fire them and have them deported from the island. Just claim you have no more work for them. Or, you can no longer afford them, and, pouff . . .
Eight, it helps if your cousin is Russel Reid, the Labour Commissioner.
Come on, Russel, we expect higher standards from you. No, they are not going to come to your office and complain in person to you. Not if they want to keep their jobs. You have to take the initiative and look out for their interests. You are expected to go out to the job places and check the employers’ books to see how well they are complying with our laws and regulations. Check with the workers personally, and in private. You have to double check your findings with Social Security. That is what you have all those inspectors for.
I am sure that the Chief Minister did not mean that it was OK for us to cruelly and illegally exploit foreign workers from our sister West Indian islands.