Displaying power, but altering identity: how Danish unions managed to organize the transnationalised Copenhagen Metro construction project

Bjarke Refslund, Jens Arnholtz

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Abstract

Experiences from large-scale European construction projects with highly transnational labour forces have shown that national institutions and unions often are unsuccessful in including the transnational workers and companies in national IR systems. However, this article shows how Danish unions have been rather successful in organising the transnational construction project of a city metro ring in Copenhagen. This has happened despite a highly fragmented, transnational workforce and several of the sub-contracting firms initially trying actively to avoid the unionisation of their transnational workforce and to bypass the Danish labour market regulation. The article proceeds to discuss the explanations of the apparent success of the unions, which include a combination of multiple factors of which the two most important are the strong political support from the public owner of the construction project and a huge effort by the national union which secured visible gains and improvements for the involved migrant workers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventSASE 29th annual meeting What's Next? Disruptive/Collaborative Economy or Business as Usual? - Université Claude Bernard, Lyon, France
Duration: 29 Jun 20171 Jul 2017

Conference

ConferenceSASE 29th annual meeting What's Next? Disruptive/Collaborative Economy or Business as Usual?
LocationUniversité Claude Bernard
Country/TerritoryFrance
CityLyon
Period29/06/201701/07/2017

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