Are you in or are you out? Relying on EU workers is no reason to stay in says manufacturing MD

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Graham Thompson is managing director of branded clothing manufacturer Xamax, based in Wakefield. The company employs more than 50 people

Are you in or are you out? Out

Why?

I think that the government’s tactics will be to beat us or bribe us to stay in. The economic argument is that there will be trade barriers again – but I don’t think that will be the case at all. After all, we spend more with them than they do with us.

Pro-EU campaigners are using that as an argument to stay in.

People are always going to want to come to the UK. In the European Union some countries are a lot poorer, they are going to continue to come in and we won’t be able to stop this if we are in the EU.

What would a Brexit mean for your business?

We don’t do a great deal in the way of trade with Europe, but we’ve benefitted from labour coming in from Eastern Europe, I’ll put my hands up and say that.

What we found was that the attitude of the local labour declined over a number of years. We used to have to have attendance bonuses to get people to come into work.

So we took advantage of Polish labour originally. Even with no skills and the language barrier – they were willing to learn and put a good day’s work in.

Over a period of time, local people were losing jobs and they realised they would have to up their game. The local population realised they were competing with EU workers and have started taking a more positive attitude to work.

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