Trade Unions and Migrant Workers
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Trade Unions and Migrant Workers

New Contexts and Challenges in Europe

Edited by Stefania Marino, Judith Roosblad and Rinus Penninx

This timely book analyses the relationship between trade unions, immigration and migrant workers across eleven European countries in the period between the 1990s and 2015. It constitutes an extensive update of a previous comparative analysis – published by Rinus Penninx and Judith Roosblad in 2000 – that has become an important reference in the field. The book offers an overview of how trade unions manage issues of inclusion and solidarity in the current economic and political context, characterized by increasing challenges for labour organizations and rising hostility towards migrants.
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Chapter 6: Trade unions and migration in Austria, 1993–2015

August Gächter


This chapter describes and analyses Austrian trade unions’ attitudes and actions towards immigration and migrant workers during the past two decades. This recent history has been tumultuous and European Union membership provided for far-reaching changes to migration controls, leaving trade unions with much less influence on migrant workers’ access to the Austrian labour market than before. When trade unions are still in a position to exert influence, they essentially stick to their orthodoxies of how they handled immigration and immigrant workers in the past. Wherever possible, they try to maintain control using their role in the labour market to test newly entering migrants. The integration of migrants continues to be interpreted in terms of cultural difference, not in terms of discrimination. Equal treatment policies continue to disregard unequal obstacles.

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