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 7: France: The assimilationist model called into question

Sylvie Contrepois


This chapter describes and analyses French trade unions’ attitudes and actions towards immigration and migrant workers during the past two decades. In terms of immigration, France is nowadays in median position in Europe, with foreign-born persons accounting for 11.6 per cent of the resident population in 2009–10, but a migrants’ direct offspring that is more numerous – though less visible – than immigrants themselves. Under the influence of the surge of the Front National, an unwelcoming climate and restrictive immigration and integration policies have become dominant characteristics of the context in which trade unions have dealt with migrant workers. While French trade unions had a long tradition in organizing migrant workers, they appear less able to play a key role in the process of migrant workers’ integration in a more competitive, flexible and segmented labour market. The trade unions’ practice of using the principle of equality as their main weapon leads to significant trade union support action for migrant workers, who nonetheless lack or have a weak legal status.

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