Nigel Farage has said he would scrap laws designed to stop racial discrimination in the workplace that he claims are out of date because British society has moved on, making them redundant, and it is, he says, “ludicrous” that employers could not favour a British national for a role over a foreigner. In response, Len McCluskey, leader of Britain’s largest union Unite, branded Nigel Farage’s call to scrap equality laws as “dangerous crude dog whistle politics” that displayed a “breathtaking ignorance about the Britain we live in today.”
Speaking in a Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast next week, Farage said:
I think the employer should be much freer to make decisions on who she or he employs. I think the situation that we now have, where an employer is not allowed to choose between a British-born person and somebody from Poland, is a ludicrous state of affairs. I would argue that the law does need changing, and that if an employer wishes to choose, or you can use the word ‘discriminate’ if you want to, but wishes to choose to employ a British-born person, they should be allowed to do so.”
Commenting, Len McCluskey said:
Nigel Farage’s wish to decriminalise discrimination by scrapping equality laws is dangerous crude dog whistle politics that strikes at the heart of British values of tolerance and respect. It also makes absolutely no sense. If he genuinely wants to protect jobs, then his party ought to abandon its position of attacking hard-won rights for workers.
His assertion that racism is no longer a problem in the UK employment market is naive and conflicts with shocking figures from the House of Commons library showing the number of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds who have been jobless for more than a year has risen by a staggering 49 per cent since the Tory led government came to power.
If he was truly concerned about the employment prospects for our young workers he would be talking about how we strengthen the weakest employment laws in Europe, create a society where everyone can fulfil their potential and be promoting tolerance and respect in the workplace.
In stockbroker Nigel’s world, there would be no floor in our labour market, with worker pitted against worker and their unions prevented from stopping attacks on their jobs and wages. Rather than addressing the real problem of employers exploiting migrant workers to drive down wages Mr Farage would prefer to remove responsibility from employers.
Working people need politicians that will act to halt any race to the bottom and create decent secure jobs, not indulge in the politics of fear and division.”