When strong unions meet precarious migrants: Building trustful relations to unionise labour migrants in a high union-density setting

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Abstract

Based on case studies in a fish processing plant and a demolition company, this article shows how strong and institutionally embedded unions interact with migrant workers in a precarious labour market position in order to safeguard their working conditions and organise them. It shows how strong unions are in a good position to include migrant workers and thereby resist labour market segmentation. The strong Danish unions, faced with the serious challenges of intra-European labour migration, have increased their attention and resources devoted to organising migrant workers and including them in the IR model. The dynamic relation between migrant workers and national unions in this high-density setting is discussed, emphasising the need for building a trustful relation between the migrant workers and the unions in order to empower the migrants to better navigate the national labour market and increase the workers’ workplace power vis-a-vis employers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Volume42
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)314-335
Number of pages22
ISSN0143-831X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Collective bargaining
  • labour migration
  • migrant workers
  • union organising
  • unionisation

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