Keely Elkins

Immigration in UK: What is the real picture?

Immigration in UK: What is the real picture?

The last few weeks we have heard that immigration in UK is raising because of the freedom of movement within EU. UNISON formally supports the stay in campaign but the branch would like to remain neutral. However there are plenty of myths around immigration and a lot of things to blame but globalization and the way the world is structured in economic terms. So is over half of the immigration coming from EU member states? Below you will find statistics from the national statistics office and you can directly search on

The total non UK population is now 14%. In the year ending (YE) September 2015,Net long-term international migration = 323,000 (up

Immigration(coming in) = 617,000

Emigration (moving out from UK) = 294,000

Net migration of EU citizens was estimated to be 172,000.

Non-EU net migration 191,000

Of the 290,000 people who immigrated for work in YE September 2015, 59% (170,000) had a definite job to go to. Of all EU citizens who came to the UK in YE September 2015, 60% arrived with a definite job to go to. (That means that the majority of people from EU come to live in UK mainly because their employer asks them to do so or because employers have recruited outside the country in order to fill gaps and shortages such as doctors for the NHS, scientists for pharmaceuticals and other hi-tech companies).

In 2015, visas granted ( that means non EU applicants) for skilled work rose +4%. There were 38,878 asylum applications (including dependants) in 2015, an increase of 20% compared with the previous year (32,344). The largest number of applications for asylum, including dependants, came from nationals of Eritrea followed by Iran, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria. Grant rates vary between nationalities; for example, 86% of the total initial decisions made for those giving Syrian as their nationality were grants of asylum or another form of protection, compared with 20% for Pakistani nationals. (Yet Pakistani visas were more than Syrian).


Figure 6: Entry clearance visas granted (excluding visitor and transit visas) to the UK, top 10 nationalities, 2015


The 2011 Census showed that 13% foreign-born residents classified themselves as White British. The largest group who identified as White British were German born (57%, 155,000) and over half (56%) of them arrived before 1981. One likely reason is due to British military personnel being stationed in Germany. The next largest group identifying as White British were from South Africa (85,000).

The table below is from the national statistics website and shows that the EU immigrants who can freely come into the country are far less that immigrants from outside EU who are required to follow long processes to obtain permit to immigrate in the UK.

The number and percentage of the non-UK born population by world region and the top ten countries within each world region
Number (thousand) Percentage of all Non-UK
Poland 579 7.7
Ireland 407 5.4
Germany 274 3.6
Italy 135 1.8
France 130 1.7
Lithuania 97 1.3
Portugal 88 1.2
Romania 80 1.1
Spain and Canary Islands 79 1.1
Top 10 countries in Europe 1,869 24.9
Total All Europe 2,748 35.6
Nigeria 191 2.5
South Africa 191 2.5
Kenya 137 1.8
Zimbabwe 118 1.6
Somalia 101 1.4
Ghana 94 1.3
Uganda 60 0.8
Mauritius 41 0.6
Tanzania 35 0.5
Egypt 30 0.4
Top 10 countries in Africa 999 13.3
Total All Africa 1,313 17.5
Middle East and Asia  
India 694 9.2
Pakistan 482 6.4
Bangladesh 212 2.8
China 152 2
Sri Lanka 127 1.7
Philippines 123 1.6
Hong Kong (Special administrative region of China) 102 1.4
Iran 82 1.1
Iraq 73 1
Malaysia 65 0.9
Turkey 91 1.2
Top 10 countries in Middle East Asia 2,112 29.3
Total All Middle East and Asia 2,587 35.5
Rest of world  
United States 177 2.4
Jamaica 160 2.1
Australia 116 1.5
Canada 69 0.9
New Zealand 58 0.8
Brazil 51 0.7
Colombia 25 0.3
Trinidad and Tobago 23 0.3
Guyana 21 0.3
Barbados 19 0.2
Total top ten countries rest of the world 719 9.6
Total Rest of the world incl Antartica and Oceania and Americans and the Caribbean 857 11.4
Total NonUK 7,505 100

Having the official statics about immigration you can make up your mind about EU membership in relation to immigration.

1% Pay rise

The Local Government Association’s final offer is a 1% pay rise for April 2016 and April2017. People on current minimum wage will see a mean a pay rise of between 6.6% and 3.4% the first year, and between 1.01% and 1.3%the second. This reflects the obligation for employers to comply with the new national minimum wage. The new national minimum wage will rise to £7.20 from £6.70 and reach £9 by 2020.

The government wants to call the National Minimum Wage, “National living Wage” but this is not real representation of the actual cost of living.

The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK on annual basis. According to the Living Wage Foundation the current UK Living Wage is £8.25 an hour for outside London and the current London Living Wage is £9.40 an hour. So either our Chancellor tries to create false impressions or his degree in history doesn’t qualify him for economics.

But back to pay rise of 1%; in reality this is an offer for pay cut. From April 2016 the 1.4% rebate on NI for employees on Employer Pension Scheme will be removed so the National Insurance will be up.

According to ECA International, the world’s leading provider of knowledge, information and technology for the management and assignment of employees around the world, the average UK pay rise was 3per cent in 2015. Taking inflation into account, salaries increase in real terms was 1.2 per cent.  

So the 1% offer means that salaries in public sector will go down by at least 2% in real terms.

That is all very good for the MPs who can give themselves an 11% pay rise.

It is not uncommon 2 full time posts to merge in half time post just because this is all the council, the department or the team can afford. Every year since 2010 public sector workers are asked to do more with less to cover a crisis that those who caused it never paid for and which is now only imaginary. Obviously our supposed democratic representatives in the Parliament do not think we are clever enough to know but, surprise! We do.

We should all say NO to this insult.



Suffragetts- a film to watch

Last night I watched the Suffragettes. Amazing!

The heroin, was working at a laundry house all her life for next to nothing, sexually abused by the boss since adolescence. The husband kicked her out of the family home because she was a suffragette and prohibited her to see her son. He eventually gave their son for adoption and she could not do anything about it. But she carried on fighting for a better world and her right to have control over her life.


The best thing about this film is that the message is still relevant. Women have not yet achieved equality. Women still earn 20% less than men on average. Women are still the majority in occupying part time jobs.41% of women have part-time jobs compared with 12% of men. Child benefit and income support are a help to thousands of hard working women who struggle between Zero hour contracts and rising cost of living, low pay and rents that exceed a monthly salary. So the welfare bill clearly targets women and in particular the poorest.

Mrs Pankhurst said at the film “we don’t want to be lawbreakers; we want to be law makers”. 100 years later and although women account for not 50.5% of the British population we are still not represented equally in society and definitely we are not lawmakers.

  • In 2015 elections only 29% of MPs were women. Out of 650 MPs 191 are women. From those 50% (98) were Labour party MPs and 35% (68) were Conservative party MPs.
  • Hereditary women peers were finally allowed to sit in the House of Lords after the Peerage Act 1963. Today only 21% of the peers are female.
  • Only 14% of vice Chancellors are female in UK Universities
  • Only 1in five university professors are female
  • Only 1 woman in 24 research institutes that make up Manchester University
  • Only 13.2 women are Council Leaders
  • Only 36 out of 351 Local Government Authorities have women CEOs
  • 68% of Voluntary Sector workforce are women yet only 27% are CEOs
  • The picture is worse in the private sector. In the biggest UK corporations women make up 23% of boardroom members and only 3.5% of CEOs are female

Women’s Equality is not about getting drunk at the pub, using bad language and having one night stands. It is not about putting down and treating badly our sons, brothers, and partners and treating men as enemies. It is about asserting our rights to a fair society, taking action for a better world. It is politics It is about using your VOTE! Our grandmothers died for this right.


Note: Socrates spoke about gender equality 2500 years ago and Plato captured it in the “Republic”.


Anna Pett

Do we vote for good leaders or Drama Queens? What makes a good leader?

Knowledge, experience, vision, communication and influencing skills, perception, and responsiveness are some of the skills that make a good leader.
So is it that simple? Undoubtedly a good leader must demonstrate knowledge and experience to deliver what is expected from him or her. But would a good leader be as good if he or she is not effective? The good leader should be able to see not only the target but how best to achieve it. What good can firing at the target be if one does not really hit the target?

Look at the Greek Prime Minister Tsipras. He created a lot of drama not accepting the EU memorandum, he organised referendum (that he completely ignored) and hold early elections. He came across as militant and on the side of the people and he definitely made noise and created drama. But is he a good leader?
Well, he cost Greece a lot of money that Greece did not have on first place, wasted time, damaged working relationship with EU officials and other politicians, decreased investor confidence at a time critical for the country’s recovery, sabotaged tourism, a major income source and he had to accept a memorandum with worse conditions than the initial one. So was not effective in actually promoting Greece’s interests. On the contrary Greece is worse off because of his actions.
But he said all the things Greek people wanted to hear and he was loud…
Well in that respect he is a leader that can enthuse the public and persuade them to vote but that has a good effect on him not the interest of the country he represents.
I definitely do not want a leader who can make noise and shout empty threats. I want results. I want a leader who knows the needs of the organisation and has sharp perception of how he/ she and the organisation are perceived by the public, the supporters and the opponents. A person who doesn’t create impressions but gets the job done, most likely in a quiet understated way. A leader who is respected and able to negotiate and collaborate, a leader who will stay calm to crises and help the organisation to come out of it strong not broken down. A leader who works for the organisation not him/herself.
As Thucydides said, “Few things are brought to a successful issue by impetuous desire, but most by calm and prudent forethought”.

Trade Union Bill

The right to strike and the proposed bill

Strikes are a rare occurrence nowadays. So why is the government so keen to take this right away? What the new bill means for working people.

Historically speaking, workers fought for decades for their right to strike. Strikes were unlawful (date and workers were imprisoned and dismissed for that. Strike is not something workers take lightly; go on a strike means loss of wage but when everything else has fallen through what do workers have left to voice their rights?

Over the last five years we have seen a systematic attack to workers rights such as 0 hour contracts and the introduction of fees to apply to an Employment Tribunal. It was hard enough to be heard at an ET and get justice. (The ET chairs are appointed from the community and more than often they side with the employer anyway).

I would imagine that conservative politicians who are all about efficiency and spending carefully public funds would base decisions on facts. However they seem to ignore facts and figures and therefore prove that their decisions are political and only political. The Tories are here to support the rich; maintain the status quo and prevent social mobility. Austerity and National Debt is only an excuse; a pill that give to the masses because they would never be voted if they were honest about their politics. Their political ideology supports free market with minimum involvement by the government. Tories cannot tolerate employment rights and decent salaries for “lower” classes i.e. working people like you and me. On the other hand unions aim to improve the working conditions and also to increase the marginal productivity of the workforce through training and skilling. And here is where the conflict starts. So what they can do to stop wages rising? What can they do to help employers bend the rules and compromise on workers safety? How can employers stop paying for sick pay and maternity? The simple answer is: Attack the unions and the right of collective action. Prevent people from even assert a better life.

Some people might think that does not really affect them because they have never participated in a strike anyway.
Well, first they have benefited from other people’s fights. Remember the attack on local government pension scheme in 2011-2012? If we did not strike and protest, the money we paid every month from our salaries for our private pension scheme would have gone to the treasury to subsidise the bail out of banks. So somebody else saved your money.
Second, it is the principle. The right to strike is a democratic right. All democracies around the world respect this right and it is only authoritarian governments and dictatorships in third world countries that attach the right to strike.
Last but not least, the new bill means that employers do not need to enter into a dialogue with employees. They can reduce salaries, or take away benefits without anyone being able to stop them. So you can see you salary going down, or other benefits such as holiday entitlement being reduced and progressively lost. The problem is that it takes a lot of effort to win small battles but it is so easy to lose what generations before us fought to achieve. Everything we take for granted today is because others have fought for it and very often died for it such as votes for women and equal pay. Worth mentioning here that women have not achieved equal pay in sectors where there are no recognised unions and national statistics show that women can earn over 20% less than men doing the same job. In retail a sector where there are no recognised unions by the employers, people are obliged to work on Sunday and Bank Holidays without getting paid extra baring in mind they are on minimum wage. They have their day off and AL dictated on them so home –work life balance is out of question.

Another good example is the attack to social workers. Many councils employ non-qualified staff to do the job of a social worker. I am not going to look into the risks for public safety but only to what this means for workers. Many workers in social care believe that this is an opportunity for them to get a better salary. Wrong! Their responsibilities will increase but not the salary. It is the social workers’ salary that will go down. There is a national shortage of social workers so their salaries are rising. Instead of employers providing opportunities for more people to get training and assisting staff with that, they found a way to keep everyone on a lower pay and the beauty of it is that they have turned social workers and unqualified social care staff against each other so they can continue undisturbed. Divide and Conquer still works.

If we do not react now, we will feel the pain in our pockets and in our lives shortly.
But then it would be too late to do anything about it. The battle would take be huge and long similar to the battles in the 20s and 30s (probably harder).

Internet Safety – Keep your child safe online

Internet safety recommendations for younger people image

Young people today are part of a generation that has never known life without mobile phones or the internet. They have become an integral part of their day-to-day lives, particularly with the rapid growth of social media.

Unfortunately this has also made them a prime target for online predators, unscrupulous scammers and cyber bullies. This was demonstrated recently in the tragic case of 17-year-old Windsor schoolboy Joseph Edwards. Joseph, an A-level student with autism was found hanged after opening a scam email that appeared to be from police, claiming he had downloaded indecent images and demanding £100. His mother Jacqueline has since launched her own web safety campaign to warn children of the dangers of internet scams.

With many youngsters regularly accessing the internet through smartphones and tablets, it can be a difficult task for parents to monitor what their child is doing online. Fortunately help is at hand. There is a wealth of information available on the net to help parents keep their child safe online. Internet search giant Google has come up with a few top tips to do just that, as well as an informative video canvassing the opinions of employees who are parents themselves. The tips are as follows:

1. Keep computers in a central place. This will make it easier to keep an eye on your children’s activities.
2. Know where your children go online. If you have young children, you might use the Internet with them. For older children, you could talk about what kinds of site they like to visit and what isn’t appropriate for your family. You can also check where your kids have been by looking at the history in your browser menu. Another option is to use filtering tools like Google SafeSearch.
3. Teach Internet safety. It’s impossible to monitor your child’s online activity all the time. As they get older, they need to know how to use the Internet safely and responsibly when they’re on their own.
Use privacy settings and sharing controls. Many sites that feature user-generated content, including YouTube, Blogger and social networking sites, have sharing controls that put users in charge of who sees personal blogs, photos, videos and profiles. Using sharing controls is particularly important when you or your children share personal information such as names, addresses or phone numbers on public sites. Teach your children to respect the privacy of friends and family by not identifying people by name in public profiles and pictures.
Protect passwords. Remind your children not to give out their passwords. Make sure that they make a habit of unclicking “remember me” settings on public computers, such as those at school or in the library.
Beware of strangers. Teach your children not to arrange in-person meetings with people that they “meet” online and not to share personal information with online strangers, because people may not be who they claim to be.
4. Help to prevent viruses. Use anti-virus software and update it regularly. Make sure that your children avoid downloading from file-sharing websites and don’t accept files or open email attachments from unknown people.
5. Teach your children to communicate responsibly. Take the following as a good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t text it, email it, instant message it or post it as a comment on someone’s page.
6. View all content critically. Just because you see it online, there’s no guarantee that it’s true. Children should learn how to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones and how to verify information that they find online. Make sure that kids understand that cutting and pasting content directly from a website may be plagiarism.

These tips are by no means a fool-proof method of ensuring children surf the net safely, but they may at least provide concerned parents with a little more peace of mind.

Unison TUC Day of Action

We have just had a TUC day of action fully supported by Unison, we had a great turnout on the picket line in Bracknell, and then joined the march in Reading.  This is not something any of us wants to do in the public sector, we are here to serve and look after our fellow citizens. We must not let the governments use of the media, to allow them to drive a wedge between us and private sector workers, who also need good pensions – who wants to have to rely on benefits after working hard all our lives, we want a good secure old age, without having to worry about food, clothing, a roof over our heads and heating.

We need more people to join the Union and get involved, this to me is the beginning of a struggle for us in the Public Sector, it seems to me the government are using us in the Private Sector as a soft target, to foot the bill for those in the city – the bankers et al, who caused this deficit, and who we as a nation bailed out.

I am a tax payer both nationally and locally, I have had a pay freeze for the last couple of years, and I don’t understand why the government after negotiating with us only four years ago, for new Pension schemes – to make them affordable and sustainable for the long term – they can now come back to us. The deal was such the cost of public sector pensions, as a proportion of GDP, would fall. The local government scheme has billions more coming in than has to be paid out in pensions every year. The money raised will go to the Treasury, so this is really just another way of making public sector workers pay for the bankers’ recession, because they can make us.

Join Unison in Bracknell – and fight back to protect yourself and your colleagues.