Never a truer word…

Considering that over 200 UK workers were replaced with Tier 2 migrants on a Scottish Government project, with the full knowledge of the First Minister – then this picture sums everything up quite succinctly.



Unions will be gone in 10 years or less.

Decriminalised in 1867 and legalised in 1871, the Trade Unions were first established to improve working conditions for working men here in the UK. They went on to form the Labour Representation Committee which effectively formed the basis of todays Labour Party.

Union reform in the 1980s saw a massive decline in union members, with membership dropping to around 7 million.  This stabilised, yet in 2012 membership dropped a further 15% and has continued falling since.

More recently, in the United States a poll revealed that 80% of workers felt the Unions were losing their power and cited amongst their reasons the failure of the Unions to represent their members effectively and political cronyism.

In 1999 a protest group was formed to fight against the IR35 statute and raised enough money in just a few months to represent Contractors in the High Court and deliver a high level of success on behalf of its members.

Yet even the PCG seems to have lost its teeth in recent years as it watches helplessly as its members are dismissed and replaced by Tier 2 migrants.  Now, renamed the IPSE, this organisation has been tamed by the Government they once fought with the offer of seats on toothless committees where they debate what is happening to their members instead of represent them.

Meanwhile, the Unite union has watched on impotent as some 21,000 of its members were let go by Hewlett Packard, who were then reported to take on Tier 2 Migrants in their place. Equally impotent was the Public and Commercial Services Union which watched its members be sidelined by the Scottish Government in favour of Tier 2 Migrants more recently, and it is reported that they have even refused to represent members who have been victimised and discriminated against in the process.

The Unions, who once played an important role in working reform here in the UK have become so wrapped up in themselves instead of their members that their effectiveness has been completely compromised; along with their reason to exist.

With the current rate of decline in membership, and the high level of dissatisfaction amongst members it would be reasonable to conclude that the Unions will be confined to the history books in the next ten years or less.

Half a million pounds a year for just one manager on Scottish SAF project

Well, if it wasn’t so shocking it would be funny – but here we are with a SAF/CAPs system on its knees – described as not fit for purpose – and one manager alone is costing around half a million pounds a year with expenses.

Let’s give the numbers a quick whirl

£1100 per day
let’s assume 300 days per year = £330,000 per year
Expense allowance of £68 per day = £20,400
Travel costs at £10 per day = £3000.00
Weekend flights at £300 per weekend (40 weekends) = £12,000

Total: £365,000
including vat = £440,000


15 years later, Government IT Projects repeating the same mistakes

Some 15 years ago, Computing published a star letter from a contractor on IR35, but the issues he raised about Government IT Project failures and Government being ripped off by the large corporates are just as valid now as they were then.

In an open letter to the Paymaster General he wrote:

Once again, the IT systems of government departments have been plastered all over the press as being nothing short of diabolical (Computing 12 October).

Who wrote these systems? I’m talking about the Passport Office system, Air and Naval Logistics systems, the London Ambulance Service and of course your own Inland Revenue systems. We all know how good those are.

In my 14 years in the IT industry I have been witness to some wonderful trickery from the larger IT solution Providers. For example, programs that were written to make it look like databases had been corrupted in the first place, giving the supplier extra time to complete the system without incurring penalties. The supplier not only used the extra time to complete the project without penalty but even had the audacity to charge the client an extortionate amount of money to fix the corruption caused by the scam programs.

Another favourite is the supplier that recruits freelance consultants at one rate and then places them on site with their client and charges anything up to five times as much for the same services. These suppliers then explain, at considerable length, how expensive contractors are, thus ensuring that the government continues to go back to them rather than the contractors.

Computing – October 2000

15 years later David Cameron  “explained to the [House of Commons Liaison Select] Committee that government has two lessons to learn from past failures, namely the dangers of large IT projects and that there is room for improvement when procuring the service.”

In the same meeting he went on to explain that significant increases in IT project success had been achieved by using SMEs instead of the larger corporates.

David Cameron: Public sector procurement facing skills shortage

In 2000, our contractor stated:

Not only has government put itself in a situation where it is totally dependant upon its suppliers, but it dare not even impose the contract’s penalty clauses. The next time you take a swipe at the freelance IT industry, take a look at the systems that have been supplied to you by large IT solution Providers. The corporate solution provider is not wonderful. When was the last time You were delivered a solution that worked as it was meant to, that was delivered at the quoted cost, and was delivered on time?

You’ve been had. Your suppliers are laughing at you and the IT consultants who could be part of a Proper solution are busily packing their bags. I challenge the government to perform a public audit of all its IT systems and suppliers.

Yet here we are again, the freelance consultants have been sacrificed in order to maximise profits for the large corporates working on the Scottish SAF project and the project is once again proving to be a costly disaster.

In 15 years, what lessons has the Government learned? It would appear nothing has been learned and the Government is still busily lining the pockets of their corporate suppliers with public money that could be used to fund teaching, the health service, agriculture and a plethora of other worthy causes.

I wonder if within the next 15 years the Government will finally learn to make better use of the resident freelance community instead of the Corporate leeches that bleed it dry and leave nothing.

Changing Legislation to Stop Tier 2 Visa Abuse

Immigration is one of the most important topics in the run-up to the General Election this year, but it remains a controversial topic.

Every year tens of thousand of UK Workers lose their jobs to Tier 2 Migrants.  One case in example is approximately two hundred UK Workers who were replaced with Tier 2 migrants on the Scottish Government SAF project. It is alleged that one of the senior management on the project who was in a position to influence who was sacked and who was not sacked also owned the agency that brought a large number of Tier 2 migrants onto the project.  This means that a manager on a Government project personally benefited from replacing UK Workers with Tier 2 Migrants.

Any changes in legislation need to make certain to hate the system and not hate the people.

Many migrants who come to work in the UK on Tier 2 visas are abused themselves.  They are treated as a subservient workforce who have no rights and who can be paid substantially less than the going rate and are forced to work illegal hours in appalling conditions.  If they complain they can have their sponsorship withdrawn and be sent home without pay and become unemployed back in their own country.

Legislation we would like to see introduced is to pay Migrant workers the “going rate” for the job that they are doing.  In the case of the Scottish SAF project, many Tier 2 Migrants are actually being paid approx 1/3 of the going rate.

A better solution therefore is to force the sponsors to update Migrant pay to match the going rate and back date it to the date of their inception.  This will address three problems:

  • it stops Migrant workers from being abused by their sponsors
  • it stops Migrant workers from being cheaper than UK workers
  • it will bankrupt some of the gang masters

Where people in a position of authority become involved in or turn a blind eye to the use of Tier 2 migrants as a subservient, abused, underpaid workforce then these people should be met with financial penalties and possibly jail depending on the seriousness of the situation.

This will stop Tier 2 Visa Abuse and stop the abuse of both UK and Migrant workers.

UK skills crisis as 500 highly skilled vacancies discovered in whole of UK

It is an unmitigated disaster of biblical proportions as the number of highly skilled vacancies in the UK breaks the 500 mark.

Indeed, throughout the whole of the UK there is now an unprecedented total of 504 Highly Skilled IT jobs being advertised across all sectors.  Fortunately, as we enter a new financial year, the Government and Business can bring in a new wave of over 20,000 Highly Skilled migrant workers to fill these 504 vacancies.

With requirements from all sectors from Banks to Government, and a total of 504 highly skilled vacancies in all, leading politicians admitted that having so many vacancies throughout the whole of the UK was a grave concern and meetings would be initiated with business leaders to discuss increasing the Tier 2 cap from 20,700 to 50,000 migrants per year to fill this massive demand.

“This is 500 jobs too many,” Nicola Sturgeon is reported to have said, “we need to open the floodgates and bring in more cheap labour on Tier 2 visas. In fact, we can use them all on Scottish Government projects.  We already have over 300 on one project alone so a few more will fit in perfectly.”

Meanwhile David Cameron noted that employment was up although most jobs were zero hour contracts and did not actually exist for real.

When asked about UK workers who could not get work, Nick Clegg told reporters, “Yes, I know that a lot of UK people would like to work for a living but it is inherently racist to want to have a job and pay for food for yourself and your family when there is an immigrant who could do your job instead.”

“We have a perfectly good benefit system and if we are not going to make it available to migrant workers, then we should give the migrants UK jobs and sack the UK workers because they ARE allowed to claim benefit.”

Ed Milliband agreed with Nicola Sturgeon.


Ex Contractors Discuss SAF Hackathon

A number of ex-contractors from the ill fated Scottish SAF project which is still plagued with problems are in discussions to carry out a SAF Hackathon.

The current system has cost upwards of £150m and has been described as “not fit for purpose”.

The ex-contractors who were replaced, they believe illegally, with Tier 2 migrants are discussing a hackathon to develop a system that allows a Farmer to enter an online SAF and would set themselves a target of under two weeks to produce an unpolished but working system.

“At the moment, it’s just a concept” said one contractor, “but we believe that without the impediment of Scottish Government and it’s management structure we could develop a working system in under 2 weeks.  Obviously, if we achieved this we would discuss payment options with the Scottish Government if their own system is still not working.”