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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Migrants 'have better work ethic'
Sainsbury worker
Sainsbury's says it welcomes more eastern European workers
The food giant Sainsbury's says recent immigrants have a better work ethic than their native counterparts.

In a submission to a House of Lords committee examining the effects of increased migration, the supermarket praised their "superior" attitude.

Harder-working eastern Europeans were even having a positive influence on British workers, the company added.

But local councils say they are being unfairly strapped with hidden costs in providing services to new arrivals.

We have found migrant workers to have a very satisfactory work ethic, in many cases superior to domestic workers
Sainsbury's submission
The Lords economic affairs committee invited written submissions on the fiscal impact of immigration in Britain, which has jumped dramatically since 2004 with expansion of the European Union to include eight new countries.

In its submission, Sainsbury's praised the flexibility of immigrants from eastern Europe and said their approach was good for business and rubbing off on native British workers.

"We have found migrant workers to have a very satisfactory work ethic, in many cases superior to domestic workers," the company's report states.

'Exploitation risk'

Factory worker
The food processing industry welcomes migrants' hard work
The National Farmers' Union echoed the supermarket in its own report to the committee, saying migrant workers employed in agriculture and food processing were taking on the jobs that the local workforce was unwilling to tackle.

"However it must also be said that migrant workers are an attractive source of labour to UK employers because of their work ethos, efficiency and dependency," the farmers' union said.

The TUC warned in its submission that part of the attraction of migrants workers was that they can be more easily exploited because of language barriers and ignorance of their rights.

"Government should devote more resources to the enforcement of employment rights such as the minimum wage, entitlement to paid holidays [and] payment of national insurance contributions," the TUC said.

'Extra pressure'

Westminster Council said there were "hidden communities" in the immigration equation - the people who do not have appropriate work permits or language skills to get by in a new country.

"In addition short-term migrants who fail to find jobs, or lose their jobs and who are not entitled to or have only limited entitlement to benefits may become homeless and destitute," the council said in its submission.

It went on to point out that migrants had placed extra pressure on police and health services and resulted in overcrowding in limited rental housing.

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