Since 2004 when 10 new states joined the EU, more than 475,000 Polish and Lithuanian workers have come to work in the UK. This study by Compas, a research unit based at Oxford University, shows that most found insecure and poorly paid employment, with more than half of those surveyed encountering problems at work. A quarter of the workers in the study reported having no written contract, a figure that rose to nearly a third amongst agency workers.
The study also found migration has re-introduced the 'tied cottage' - where employers provide accommodation at a cost and use it to increase their control over migrant workers. Nearly a third of the workers in the report were living in accommodation provided by their employer, and as a result endured excessive hours - due to their employment being linked to where they lived - and poor living conditions.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: 'This study reveals systematic abuse of migrant workers which is tantamount to modern day slavery. Too many unscrupulous bosses are getting rich by exploiting migrant workers and the full force of the law should be used against those profiting from such appalling ill treatment.'
A new TUC guide, 'Living and working in the UK: Your rights', written with the Citizens Advice service, gives advice for new arrivals on living in the UK and on possible problems at work. The guide notes: 'Everyone has worked in places where the boss tries to cut corners to keep costs down: union health and safety reps have the power to make employers protect their staff.'
From here: http://www.tuc.org.uk/newsroom/tuc-1365