The conditions under which Dutch trade unions have to operate have changed since the 1990s. Dutch trade unions have suffered a decline in membership and a loss of institutional power. They have been redefining their role in the socio-economic decision-making process and inventing new ways of representing the interests of the working population. The Dutch labour market has changed significantly over the last two decades, with employment becoming increasingly flexible. The number of migrant workers, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, in the low-skill segments of the Dutch job market has increased, especially since the EU enlargement rounds in 2004 and 2007. These workers are embedded in a labour market governed by host and home-country regulations as well as EU legislation. In view of these developments, this chapter discusses how trade unions in the Netherlands have defined their position towards immigration and migrant workers, and whether and how they have included these workers in unionism.
Judith Roosblad and Lisa Berntsen
Stefania Marino, Rinus Penninx and Judith Roosblad
The book offers an analysis of the relationship between trade unions, immigration and migrant workers across 11 European countries in the period between 1990 and 2015. This introductory chapter explains the editors’ approach to this study, which is based on the comparative framework as developed in an earlier book by Penninx and Roosblad in 2000. This framework is critically reconsidered and its validity is checked in the light of recent contextual changes. It informs the development of the main questions that will underpin both the structure and content of the 11 country cases and the comparative analysis presented in the concluding chapter. In addition, this introduction addresses relevant methodological aspects and outlines the structure of the book.
Stefania Marino, Judith Roosblad and Rinus Penninx
This chapter provides a cross-country comparison of union stances towards immigration and migrant workers by following the analytical framework discussed in the introduction. First, it provides an analysis of union responses to the three ‘dilemmas’. It subsequently comments on the extent to which the explanatory variables included in the framework account for observed differences across countries. Our comparative analysis has resulted in the identification of patterns in unions’ policies and actions across three groups of countries: the central-eastern European countries – the Czech Republic and Poland – whose trade unions have relatively undeveloped policies in relation to immigration and migrant workers; the north-west European countries – Austria, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK – whose trade unions have focused on the defence of migrant workers’ conditions in the labour market; and the Mediterranean countries – France, Italy and Spain – in which the defence of social rights has also been important.