UK government disarray adds to threat for labor
UK government disarray adds to threat for labor
14 AUGUST 2017 7:18 AM

The pressure on hotel labor is getting more pronounced as U.K. politicians squabble about immigration regulations and European Union divorce settlements.

Brexit again.

And if you feel I go on about this too much (my side lost), it is because the whole situation worries me.

I am, however, indebted to Italian State Article 5 of Law 91/1992, which states that “the spouse of an Italian citizen living outside of Italy can apply for Italian citizenship three years after the date of the marriage,” which for me came around last 27 December.

For others—certainly those hotel employees born in the European Union and now working in the United Kingdom, who are vital to our economy—the situation might be more perilous. That’s certainly the case as the U.K. government digs its heels in regarding the free movement of people after the U.K. leaves the European Union, which it believes will be in March 2019.

Who knows if that date will be the date, although pressure will be on government ministers, and especially the Prime Minister, to make sure that happens.

I get the sense that as long as that date is achieved, little concern will be shown in the mass of details concerning the EU exit, new trade deals and the relationship with “Europe.”

The EU has criticized the U.K. government’s lack of detail and preparation in the ongoing Brexit talks, getting perturbed enough to suggest no talks would be scheduled on new trade deals until the U.K. paid a “divorce” settlement, widely believed to be in the region of between €60 billion ($70.5 billion) and €70 billion ($82.2 billion), even perhaps €100 billion ($117.5 billion).

The U.K. government is awash with leaks, as ministers jockey for power to fill any potential vacuum created due to Theresa May’s dull performance in the recent general election. The turmoil in the government might not be at the same level as in the U.S., but as the scramble happens, labor will continue to be used as a political football.

Labor is that football because ultimately at the core of the decision to leave the EU is the notion—misguided or not—that the U.K. is being overrun with incomers to the detriment of public services and meaningful employment.

Unless that is, our politicians are being cagey and keeping their cards close to their chests?

The Evening Standard reported that tensions are high in the government since “Chancellor (of the Exchequer) Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd backed transitional arrangements once the U.K. leaves the (EU), which suggested EU migration could continue with a registration scheme.”

That sent the Brexiteers into a frenzy, which resulted in the PM and other ministers getting tougher on immigration.

Paying that huge Brexit divorce bill also annoys many (who likes paying out money?), and for some politicians that could spell a career end, too.

Expect more turmoil when it comes to labor. That said, stock markets are doing record business and the pound sterling recently hit an 11-month high, which is significant because the U.K. voted to leave the EU just three months before that.

After the shock, business as usual, although critics might say that wages and job quality need to show the same robustness.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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