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 12: Trade unions and migrant workers in Ireland: New organisational opportunities under changed circumstances

Mary Hyland


The organisation of migrant workers as a new constituency is potentially a mutually beneficial proposition for both trade unions and migrant workers, particularly in a context where unions are losing membership and influence and migrant workers are frequently subject to insecure employment and open to exploitation. This chapter examines the Irish trade union movement’s response to labour migration and its evolution, from the first roars of the Celtic Tiger in the 1990s, through the period of economic recession to the current indications of recovery, as the Irish economy is once again on an upward trajectory. It discusses the factors, both historical and institutional, that influenced the response and it considers Irish trade union revitalisation efforts and the role of migrant workers therein.

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