back to article British jobs for British people: UK tech rejects PM May’s nativist hiring agenda

“If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means." So British Prime Minister Theresa May told her party’s conference last week. Home secretary Amber Rudd laid out plans at the conference to make it harder for British employers to hire …

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            1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

              Re: Stalin's speeches

              That's right. Stalin made a huge lot of noise against "rootless cosmopolitans". It became a highly derogatory term and an excuse for further repressions. But Stalin's anti-cosmopolitan push happened slightly after WWII, not during the great purge.

              I do remember Hitler ranting about "cosmopolitans" in Mein Kampf, albeit not as extensively as Stalin did in his speeches and books. But I'm reluctant to read through that drivel again to refresh the memory.

              Anyhow. As Voyna i Mor pointed out right in this thread - fights against cosmopolitanism were invariably part of anti-Semitic campaigns. Both Hitler and Stalin seemed to associate cosmopolitans with Jews, and it's far from the only thing these distinguished gentlemen had in common.

        1. Dr Scrum Master

          Re: This article is a load of leftie rubbish

          Citizenship means being a good citizen wherever you live, paying your taxes and playing a part in society

          I'm a foreigner where I live. I pay my taxes (at a higher rate than most locals) and I pay more for state services like schooling and healthcare. My identity card indicates my nationality.

          Do I get to vote? No.

          Can I even donate blood? No, because I come from the land of Mad Cow Disease.

          Can foreigners buy land here? No.

          Are there regulations to restrict the number of low-paid foreigners employed by firms? Yes.

          Has the number of employment passes for low-paid foreigners reduced in response to public discomfort? Yes.

          Is controlling the immigration of low-skilled people into a country normal around the world in order to prevent social upheaval? Yes.

          Is it normally easier for higher skilled people to move between countries? Yes.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: This article is a load of leftie rubbish

        Time to sell up and move to an isolated island somewhere.

        Beat you to it :-)

        Mine's the coat with the Map Of Tasmania in the pocket...

      2. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: This article is a load of leftie rubbish

        Time to sell up and move to an isolated island somewhere.

        That is the great thing about Mrs May. There will be no need for us to move.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The UK is not educating people in Tech...

    ...because big business kept outsourcing all those jobs to cheap locations.

    If you want to have UK employees apply, then it's not enough to train them, you have to provide some assurances there WILL be jobs for them in those sectors, with a better guarantee that those jobs will not be replaced overnight.

    The UK workforce are not stupid or technically illiterate - they've decided that if they have to spend £50k on getting a degree to get a job, they are not going to pick a subject where employers treat them like a disposable 'it's just computers' commodity

    1. n0r0imusha

      Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

      that is true to some extent BUT that issue still wont be fixed by exiting the EU .

      It will more like will be aggravated by completely outsourcing it as hiring people from abroad will be complicated/expensive/get shamed for it.

      expect offices go empty.

      doom we are all doomed

      / infected mushroom - U R so F***ed /

    2. Novex

      Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

      The employers here don't train properly because they're afraid that all that training expense will go to waste when their newly trained employees get head-hunted by the company next door who couldn't be arsed to train and instead let the other 'gimberts' do it.

      It doesn't help that DWP is divorced from the Business Training and Skills department. By keeping those separate, there are a batch of people on the dole (like me) who want to re-train in relevant I.T. skills, but there's absolutely no will in DWP to even take notice of us.

      But, I have to say that all these businesses complaining about Brexit actually happening is a bit ripe. If they'd respected the citizens of this country by not outsourcing all their jobs, and making sure they got paid at least a living wage, then perhaps we* wouldn't have voted to leave the E.U.

      *I voted remain, so that 'we' doesn't technically include me.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

        The employers here don't train properly because they're afraid that all that training expense will go to waste when their newly trained employees get head-hunted by the company next door who couldn't be arsed to train and instead let the other 'gimberts' do it.

        'Fraid there is certainly truth behind this. A few decades back when I was at school most of the non-uni kids went into local apprenticeships. Things had already stated to change even then. The firms that did train these kids found they were being poached by other firms that just didn't want to pay. And then the better firms gave up too, because it was wasting them money that the competitors were taking advantage of. The trouble was it became a race to the bottom. Various government schemes have tried to take up the slack, But while I'm no advocate of "small government" this is one area where private enterprise needs to take a grip. If a centralised approach is taken it leads to a corrupt, incompetent pork barrel for training companies that are totally divorced from the needs of the actual employers.

        As to teaching kids "coding" in school. That just misses the point. You needs kids who have the flexibility, interpersonal and thinking skills to become good coders and all the other skilled employees that industry needs; not mechanical code monkeys. And these skills need to come from the industry that specifies them.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

        "The employers here don't train properly because they're afraid that all that training expense will go to waste when their newly trained employees get head-hunted by the company next door"

        That's because they see training and paying the going rate for those who've been trained as alternatives, not as complementary.

    3. Paul Hargreaves

      Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

      Graduates seem to leave Uni with media degrees and then start work at a company in the sales department is graduate sales / inside sales.

      Amazingly... the companies then train those staff by having them mentored by more senior sales people, and they can typically spend a few years in that pool before migrating into a 'field' sales person.

      Yet, these same companies seem disinterested in doing the same with developers?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

      ... they've decided that if they have to spend £50k on getting a degree to get a job, ... pick a subject where employers treat them like a disposable ...

      This. And it's not like this wasn't being talked about 10 or even 20 years ago. If you want home-grown talent in the middle and upper layers, you need to provide jobs for the new ones at the bottom layers so they can get in and work their way up. As it is, so much of business has swan the bottom rungs out of the ladder and now complains that there aren't people ready, willing, and capable of climbing it.

      I was lucky to get a good apprenticeship in a very large local engineering firm. That place still does apprenticeships, it never stopped - perhaps being in the defence pork barrel helps. But even allowing for many of those apprentices having left - the firm still gets the benefit as many of them went into smaller firms that (now the big one has downsized and outsourced) provide a lot of services that used to be done in-house.

      I left for various reasons, partly to pursure a business opportunity of my own, and partly with my (then undiagnosed) ASD (Aspergers) I really struggled in the environment they used to have. Annoyingly (as I'm trying to get back, hence posting as AC, in after (a few decades), this large firm keeps complaining that they can't find skilled engineers and need "lots", but when I look they don't seem to have vacancies on their site to match the headline shortages.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

        but when I look they don't seem to have vacancies on their site to match the headline shortages

        That means you are approaching the problem incorrectly. Only 5% of jobs are filled via the Positions Vacant ads.* Try reading What Color is my Parachute? (Merkin) and/or Surfing Your Horizons (Australian). Likely there's a British equivalent; I used the latter in ever so many job clubs in the 90s.

        * Confirmed this by having every job club participant list all the jobs they'd had and how they got them.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          @ thumb down The UK is not educating people in Tech...

          Confirmed this by having every job club participant list all the jobs they'd had and how they got them.

          80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking

          New Survey Reveals 85% of All Jobs are Filled Via Networking

        2. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

          Given the person mentioned being aspie, then looking for advertise jobs would be their main way of finding them - when the social side of things is phenomenally unpleasant for an individual then all that word of mouth / scratch my back I'll scratch yours method of getting jobs based on social interactions is less likely to be a viable option.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

            Given the person mentioned being aspie, then looking for advertise jobs would be their main way of finding them - when the social side of things is phenomenally unpleasant for an individual then all that word of mouth

            I'm an aspie* and nearly all of my friends are aspies. I was a contract computer trainer for a decade and most of the contracts were for 3 or 6 hour sessions. My life consisted of continuous job searching. I never advertised, nor did I respond to advertisements. When 95% of job seekers are applying for 5% of the available jobs you are making the task as difficult for yourself as possible.

            Hint: handing out calling cards** to friends and relatives with your contact details and a precise description of the type of work you seek might be "phenomenally unpleasant" for a very small minority of the population.

            * As an aspie I'd far rather work in isolation, but when needs must I fake being an NT.

            * In the job clubs we printed 10 up on a sheet of ordinary paper and cut them up with scissors. They don't need to be fancy.

        3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

          That means you are approaching the problem incorrectly.

          In this case, no I'm not. I do have some friends "on the inside" and they're all telling me the same thing - the company is actively clamping down on any attempt to bypass HR, with "getting a mate to introduce you to the manager" was a well known to bypass the non-hiring process. For some jobs, but I;m told, none of the ones I'm interested in, there is an option for an employee to recommend someone (for which they get a bounty if that person gets hired).

          The HR system there is clearly designed to prevent them hiring people. It's obvious to both applicants on the outside, and to people on the inside - especially frustrated managers who know that there are netter applicants (via word of mouth) than the handful that HR ever let them consider.

          In one case I've been told about, the majority of applicants actually put forward for consideration were not actually eligible to work on the site due to nationality - now that's taking "broken" to a whole new level !

    5. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

      "If you want to have UK employees apply, then it's not enough to train them, you have to provide some assurances there WILL be jobs for them in those sectors, with a better guarantee that those jobs will not be replaced overnight."

      I would have agreed with you except that there doesnt seem to be any lack of media and sociology graduates out there. Since most of them end up stocking shelves or selling stuff in retail stores, it cannot be the assurances of jobs in their sector driving them into it...

      No degree guarantees you a job, and if you have the attitude that just because you got a degree you deserve your dream job, then your going to be sadly disappointed, no matter where you are in the world...

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: No degree guarantees you a job

        ...but the people you meet gaining one often does. You only have to look at government to see the proof.

      2. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

        No degree guarantees you a job, and if you have the attitude that just because you got a degree you deserve your dream job, then your going to be sadly disappointed, no matter where you are in the world...

        Very true. When I was running job clubs in the 90s, the only participants who had a problem finding work were university graduates. They refused to believe the techniques that worked could possibly work. They were "too simple". Quite sad really...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The UK is not educating people in Tech...

        "No degree guarantees you a job, and if you have the attitude that just because you got a degree you deserve your dream job, then your going to be sadly disappointed,"

        Had a conversation some weeks ago with someone who is studying "marketing, the most important course you can do" .... apparently far more important than 'boring', 'dull' and 'unimportant' things like sciences or engineering; the professional dancer & dance teachers we both know "wasted their time in a dead-end subject", as had the music student in the room. This from someone who can't change a light bulb, and didn't know where to buy one anyway.

        If a degree guaranteed her a job, it'd be time to start burning degree certificates.

  2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    I'm agahst!

    The thing that the article completely misses is that employers are not prepared to invest in training their own people or new workers!

    You cannot expect the education, even the further education system to generate the people with knowledge and skills that all companies want. It takes +5 years to get a course up, running, and generating trained graduates. By the time this has happened, the skills required have changed. Windows and .Net a few years ago, Linux and Python now, who-the-hell-knows-what in the future. It's education's job to provide a good fundamental grounding, not fully rounded workers. That comes later as they gain experience.

    It has in the past, and will remain in the future, the case that to get the skills needed, you can go out and fight in the market for a limited resource, or you can invest in apprenticeship and cross training of the people available. Find someone who has aptitude, fresh out of education, and mould them into what you need.

    And you know what. Training UK people keeps the money in the country, and enriches the available skills, and generates jobs for UK residents. It will also continue the UK's reputation for being somewhere to come from abroad to to learn, something that is being increasingly eroded in recent years.

    Businesses have become lazy, inward facing, and too focused on profit. They need to take on some responsibility themselves, instead of wanting to steal doctors, nurses, IT skills and many other things from countries that need to keep them themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget us oldsters!

      I agree, I'm aghast too!

      I'd like to add that employers too often seem wedded to the cult of youth.

      As an older person - only mid 40's but these days that seems to mean that I'm on the scrapheap. I can't help wondering that many employers seem biased against us older workers. At school I coded in BASIC, at Uni it was Ada, my first job used Fortran, then there was C++, then C#, python, ruby etc. Oh and java when there was j2se, j2ee and j2me (remember midlets?). I've lost count of the variants of unix or other OSes, of different build tools, code management systems, and scripting languages I've used. Yet myself and my contemporaries struggle to find roles despite good track records, references and broad experience. Perhaps I'm too inflexible ...

      Me, I think most of the employers probably aren't facing a shortage of IT talent - what they are facing are rubbish recruiting teams and their own prejudices.

      1. Mayhem

        Re: Don't forget us oldsters!

        I am firmly in favour of hiring older people for certain roles.

        At a previous company, they basically needed an IT caretaker more than a manager - the systems wouldn't change for another five years, and all the day to day stuff was minor.

        So finding an older person who was happy to keep everything ticking along without any particular ambitions other than keep their kids fed was a great relief. They had enough skills to handle anything, and just wanted a quieter post to eventually retire from.

        Sure, I could have hired someone young and full of fire, but they'd be bored to death in a week and want to move on.

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget us oldsters! @AC

        Sorry, parts of that comment did concentrate too much on young people. I agree that cross training is required as well, but I think that it was covered to a degree by the "training their own people" statement at the beginning of the comment.

        I am in my mid '50s and do face the same problems you do, but I hope that my core skills will remain in demand long enough to see me through to retirement, but I am beginning to wonder.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't forget us oldsters! @AC

          @Peter You've nothing to apologise for. My concern/belief is that employers are often prejudiced against us older staff. I don't even get interviews.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget us oldsters!

        "Me, I think most of the employers probably aren't facing a shortage of IT talent - what they are facing are rubbish recruiting teams and their own prejudices."

        One thing they're looking for, maybe without realising it, is naivety. At your age you've probably been subjected to too many team-building exercises and similar BS. You're not impressed by management any more and too apt to call BS. They want someone who is going to be impressed and that means someone who hasn't been round the block a few times.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget us oldsters!

          At your age you've probably been subjected to too many team-building exercises and similar BS. You're not impressed by management any more and too apt to call BS.

          Heh, heh... Spent the last three years or so of my working life in the public service. (It was accidental! Honest!). Staff meetings were a nightmare that I alleviated somewhat. Anybody saying "stakeholder" would hear me say: "sausage-holder". Ditto for all the other foolish jargon I couldn't abide.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Don't forget us oldsters!

            The real problem with over 40s is that they don't think it's awesome to pull all-nighters and work weekends because a project is under resourced, poorly planned and has an unrealistic deadline

            20 year olds will do that if you have table football

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: Don't forget us oldsters! @YAAC

              It's funny. I've pulled more all-nighters in the last 6 months than I have in the previous 15 years!

              The reason why I do it is because it needs to be done, and my kids are now grown up so that I can afford the disruption to my life that some of my colleagues who still have younger kids cannot.

              I must admit I am accompanied by a significant number of 20 somethings who have not yet acquired responsibilities outside of work.

              Oh, while I'm waiting for the time for my work, I do origami, not table football!

  3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    I left in the 70's

    I had a good job, with a company car but I was earning about 2,500 quid a year because of the Great British Wage Freeze ... and my company was hiring people below me at twice my salary. Sure, there's lots of stuff I missed but since my salary in the US at that time was $20k I managed to get by without any problems. I come back for vacations - the currency exchange rate makes it as cheap to visit the UK as many other third world countries.

    I've been watching the Brexit debate with casual interest - I have very little skin in the game these days but I can't see the UK making a success of an economy by building a wall around itself. It's never happened anywhere yet and I don't see it happening in the future.

    I do find it interesting that the same media conglomerates that pushed hard for Brexit and the same people behind Trump. Good Luck with it.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: I left in the 70's

      Similar story, 10 years later, can't even be bothered to come back as a tourist these days. UK is crowded, dirty and cold. Better comedians, though. I wonder why.

    2. JustNiz

      Re: I left in the 70's

      > I can't see the UK making a success of an economy by building a wall around itself.

      If that was what is happening then I'd agree, but it isn't.

      Bh leaving the EU, the UK is getting control of itself back from Brussels, and also opening doors to trade with countries that it couldn't before, including the places where the most significant economic growth is actually happening, which are all outside the EU.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I left in the 70's

        OK that needs to be called out - WHAT country could you not trade with before? Name me one? If what you meant is you couldnt take advantage of dismissing environmental, health, safety or other EU rules in order to get cheaper products (but which were unhealthy, potentially dangerous, or environmentally unfriendly) then sure fine.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: I left in the 70's

          Absolutely.

          getting control of itself back from Brussels means what really?

          Apart from (I suspect) meaning doing even less to help even-out the burden of rescuing the poor devils escaping Syria and the like, which bits of control do people really want to take back? Health and safety laws - The EU doesn't stop us doing more, or making things better for people, only making them worse. Environmental laws -Ditto. Does anyone remember how the British seaside was pre-EU clean beaches laws?? Yuch! And bear in mind that we are already falling well below the required level for the reduction in roadside vehicle emissions that we are meant to meet, for our own health, while we are still in the EU. What chance that this would improve without them pushing us on it?

          Anyone like to guess who would be better off and who worse off post-Brexit? For a clue, think who those cursed EU laws are protecting most.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I left in the 70's

        @justniz,

        Thanks - needed a Friday afternoon laugh, that's the funniest thing i've heard all week !

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Govt should have this data already

    Don't EU citizens in Britain show their passport/ID card when applying for a NIN? I know the Spanish government knows my nationality. I've been made to go round to the town council to prove I'm still resident here or lose my EU treaty rights.

    Getting employers to do Cruella De Vil's dirty work and using the party conference to turn the nastiness up to 11 only encourages more xenophobia by idiots.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would be curious...

    .to see how the figures stack up if you take London out of the equation.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: I would be curious...

      The figures are there (just as a quick example). But it would make no sense, because the UK is run as a single economic region, with different areas generating different levels of product. If you split the country out, you will certainly find some areas actually running at a deficit, being propped up by London.

      If you want to go down that route, maybe you should ask what Scotland would look like outside of the UK, now that oil revenues have fallen below their very optimistic budget calculations at the Scottish referendum.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People should be hiring based on skills, not where they were born or whatever.

    For example, if a Frenchman is far more qualified for the job than a Brit, why the fuck wouldn't you hire them?

    1. NinjasFTW

      but if the Frenchman is as good (or close enough) to the Brit but is cheaper then you are going to hire the Frenchman.

      Furthermore if you know there is a steady stream of French that are all prepared to accept lower rates then your subsequent job postings are going to be based on that.

      Lets face it though, most of the debate isn't about the levels of western Europeans in companies. People from similar economies are always going to have similar expectations and therefore more even competition.

      The only way that companies aren't finding skilled labour locally is because they don't want to pay for it. They are used to a cheap, good enough workers and don't want to accept that skilled workers are expensive because they are skilled.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      If they're from a country like France, then fine.

      The problem is that people are being imported from countries so poor that they will accept way below the (previous) market rate for their labour.

      If we could have free movement with the EU as it was in, say, 1990, then that wouldn't remotely be a problem.

      1. qwertyuiop

        ...from countries so poor... - so they're less likely to be from any of the other 27 EU states and more likely to be from ROTW, If that's the case then we already had the ability to control how many came into the country becuase they weren't covered by FOM.

      2. Mayhem

        Ironically though, the 90s was the rise of the Polish. Now the Poles are too expensive, and we get Latvian builders and Romanian coders.

        Give it another 20 years *without expanding the EU* and those countries will be properly developed as well, meaning the free movement situation will resolve itself.

        The real problem ... as it has been *everywhere* ... is the free movement of indentured wage slaves from third world countries in Africa and Asia, who are willing to work for negligible rates. Free movement of People means that people can move to where the work is. Big business in the UK and US hates that. What they want is the ability to bring in cheap employees from anywhere to undercut their rivals, which is a completely different situation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I would love to see that, Europe well developed... while the UK regresses back to the Victorian period.

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            I would love to see that, Europe well developed... while the UK regresses back to the Victorian period.

            Unfortunately, you won't have long to wait. GB, the U.S. and Japan are fully embracing Dickensian ideals once again.

    3. JustNiz

      Exactly right, but whats actually happening is that companies are replacing existing skilled employees with foreign ones based entirely on their cheapness and ability to fill a seat, not their skills. Mostly because HR and middle/upper-managers are themselves non-technical do don't have the first clue how to even begin to properly evaluate tech skills, so are taking employment agencies and the applicants own resume at their word. Meanwhile in India, even assuming you are one of the few "graduates" that actually studied at all and didn't just buy your degree certificate from what amounts to a print shop, rampant cheating on degree courses, final exams and outright lying on resumes is the culturally accepted norm rather than the exception.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/03/19/these-indian-parents-climbed-a-school-wall-to-help-their-kids-cheat-on-an-exam/

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/122-students-paid-Rs-30L-for-fake-degrees/articleshow/52788630.cms

  7. Dave_uk

    These jobs are for "local people" so get your hands off the precious things!

    Sorry - could not resist, as graphic used is from The League of Gentlemen.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The magic has gone

    Too many companies are now locked in to the short term bottom line profits this year thinking and have not had to be interested in training staff. Previous governments could do nothing nor wanted to do anything about 400 million potentially joining the supply to the labour market. Governments have seen no reason for creating an an environment to promote training.

    Although the government should have tax records from hmrc regarding foreign workers, anybody who has an IT infrastructure knows about system auditing. A modern country needs to know what's what, from taxing income through to spending it on roads, schools, police, etc.

    As with the crash of 2008, what is left is the growing reality of a balanced system that can be understood and acted upon for the benefit of all citizens of the United Kingdom.

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: The magic has gone

      "thinking", "companies" and "training" in the same sentence? Wow you've got high hopes...

      I had training written into my contract at one company, who will remain nameless, did I get it? Not a chance, and then to cap it off we got taken over by rednecks and my boss quit and I was constructively dismissed on the basis I hadn't had the training to deal with the new system, you know the training that wasn't that breached my contract of employment in the first place, over and above the sociopathic "contractor" hired as a hatchet man..

      This happened probably 15 years ago now, it's nothing new.

      The employment laws in this country bear about the same relation to reality as Hollyoaks, and since we now have Reichfuhrerin May in charge it'll only get worse. Here, that's a thought, Amazon work camps, oh wait we've got those already..

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear..

    It would be fun if I was able to switch off all that has been installed in UK government by those damn foreigners. I am 100% certain nothing would work.

    They have really *no* idea just how stupid closing the door to foreigners has been, and that particular bit of xenophobia started quite a few years ago when they joined one G Bush in a war - I guess they genuinely had something to hide...

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