Recent decades have seen the EU grappling with a major struggle between the securitization of its external borders and demand for exploitable and disposable cheap workforce in various sectors. As a result, the EU has multiplied its borders by pushing them both outwards and inwards, and the distinction between migrants’ status as regular and irregular, legal and illegal, citizen and non-citizen, has been continuously portrayed as black and white. This produces and sustains an analytical, political and practical divide that often obscures commonalities in workers’ dispossession and is an obstacle to unified struggles to secure workers’ rights.
This volume moves beyond a perspective of migrants’ exclusion and inclusion as solely a product of migration processes. It contextualizes migration in the larger transformations of the local, national and transnational labour markets and relations that point to the ongoing precarization of working lives.
These processes of inclusion are methodologically approached through exclusion at macro, micro and meso levels. This positions the ethnographically documented experiences of immigrant labourers in the challenges of contemporary labour and migratory regimes, and traces new forms of collective response and contestation emerging in these reconfiguring contexts.
Introduction: Migrants’ Inclusion and Exclusion in the Context of Precarisation of Working Lives in the Post-Enlargement EU
Section I. Changes in Employment and Migration to the EU
1. Changes in Employment: The Role of the State and its Reconfiguration in the Liberalization of Employment Policies
2. The Political Economy of an Ongoing Crisis: How Institutional Evolution is Shaping Employment and Migration in Europe
3. Migration Policies and Their Threats: Going Beyond Polarization of the EU vs. Non-EU Migration Policies and its Exceptions
Section II. Spectrum of Migrants’ Inclusion and Exclusion
1. ‘Hidden Injuries’ of Migration: Polish Workers in the UK
2. Non-EU Migrant Workers in For-profit Elderly Care Facilities in London: Capital’s Use of Multiple Borders for the Extension of its Own Frontiers
3. Female Migrants’ Agency: Work Trajectories of Polish Women in the UK
4. ‘Once you see that it can be otherwise, then you expect something else’: The Labour Experience of Polish Migrant Returnees From the UK
Section III. Collective Perspectives on Inclusion and Exclusion
1. Trade Unions’ Responses at the Intersection of Class and Migration
2. The Social Articulation of the Crisis and Political Mobilisation in Spain: Some Reflections on the Shortcomings of the New Social Movements.
3. Obstacles Before Struggles: Freedom of Movement and the Conditioning of Collective Response
4. Precariousness in Unlikely Places: The Role of High-skilled Migrant Worker Networks in Resisting and Reproducing Precarity
Round Table Debate: Is Collective Response from a Mobile Workforce Possible? In Search of New Analytical Paradigms
This is an important contribution that aims to uncover the broader aspects of migration in relation to work and employment. The chapters look at the edges of the social and the more hidden forms of work and exploitation, as well prompting us to think about and question the effectiveness of more established forms of responding to the issue of exclusion.
This edited volume could not be more timely in its critical examination of the intersection of precarious work and migration. Importantly migration is contextualised in wider transformation of local, national and transnational labour markets. Based on qualitative research by young scholars it goes beyond viewing migrants as victims, but focuses on their collective struggles as part of or supported by trade unions and grassroots organisation.
Olena Fedyuk is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Marie Curie ‘ChangingEmployment’ network at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
Paul Stewart is a Professor of Sociology of Work and Employment at the Department of Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He is also a Coordinator of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network ‘ChangingEmployment.’