Countrys recession sends migrant workers back home
by Darren Devine
South Wales Echo
Feb 20 2009
A BUSINESSMAN who runs a company bringing migrant workers to Wales says they are heading home in droves as the recession hits the jobs market.
Former bus company owner Clayton Jones said up to 75% of the workers he employed while running Veolia Transport have now returned to their eastern European homelands.
The firm once employed about 120 eastern Europeans but this has now dropped to about 30 since the start of the recession.
Faced with seeing both their hours cut and the amount of money they can send home fall because of the pounds weakness against the Euro many have headed back.
After May 2004 more than 16,000 eastern European migrants registered to work here and they make up around 1% of the Welsh workforce.They are thought to contribute 10% more in tax than they take from the public purse.
Mr Jones, who runs Pontypridd-based Euroworkers R Us, said: My understanding is that where the drivers used to work 60 hours a week, because of the economic conditions, they are now doing 40 hours a week.
They dont get much advantage now whereas before they did because the pound was strong and they could send money back.
The businessman, who also owns a heating firm in Macedonia, says he has also had to lay off 27 workers there because of the recession.
Veolia managing director Charles Lewis believes workers are returning to their home countries because the performance of eastern European economies is improving dramatically.
Mr Lewis, whose firm operates bus and coach services in South Wales, said: The economies of eastern Europe are much more buoyant now and they can go back to their families and find work far easier.