One of the UK’s largest bus operators has defended its practice of hiring only EU migrants for some jobs, whilst turning down fully qualified British workers.
The issue was brought to light when a fully-qualified driver applied for a job with the Arriva UK Bus, but was told they were only interested in Romanians.
Peter Kennedy, 45, currently works for a delivery firm on a zero-hours contract and was prepared to move 150 miles for the new role to better himself and his family.
However, the add read, “EU bus drivers wanted”, specifying: “Category D driving licence, EU citizen, one year’s experience, English speaking, clear police check. To pass a medical.”
Mr. Kennedy was initially offered an interview, but just days before he was sent an email titled “The British Bus Driver” from employment agency Skills Provision, abruptly informing him that the interview was off.
Arriva defended the policy, telling the Sun: “On occasion, to ensure that all vacancies are filled with the most suitable candidates, we employ agencies that specialise in personnel from overseas.
“Candidates undergo the exact same interview process as those of British residency. We always encourage applications from any individual, regardless of their present address.”
Arriva operates bus, coach, train, tram and waterbus services in 14 countries across Europe. Arriva UK Bus operates 5,900 buses across England and Wales, employing 16,000 people.
Furious Mr. Kennedy slammed the firm. He said. “It’s totally unfair. They didn’t even give me a chance.
“I’m a British driver but it seems I don’t stand a chance of getting a job in my own country. I don’t know if it’s because these Romanians are cheaper or what.”
Because of European Union free movement rules, the practice of hiring only foreign workers is not uncommon in the UK.
During the referendum debate, ‘Leave’ campaigners argued that restoring border controls would increase demand for labour and push up the wages and employment rates for British workers.
The boss of the “Britain Stronger in Europe” campaign, Lord Stuart Rose, even admitted Brexit would push up wages.
Just one month after the Brexit vote, the Office for National Statistics revealed that the proportion Brits out of work had fallen to 4.9 per cent in the March to May period, the lowest since July to September 2005.