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 9: The Netherlands: Finding common ground in an increasingly fragmented workforce

Judith Roosblad and Lisa Berntsen


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.

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