New Contexts and Challenges in Europe
Edited by Stefania Marino, Judith Roosblad and Rinus Penninx
Chapter 15: Trade unions and migration in the Czech Republic, 2004–15
This chapter outlines the positions of the Czech trade unions – based mostly on the example of the biggest Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS) – towards labour (im)migration to Czechia. While the trade unions refused xenophobia in important historical moments (for example, the 2015 ‘refugee crisis’), they have mostly maintained a protectionist stance to the national labour market vis-à-vis labour immigration from non-EU countries. Inclusion of migrant workers has not been pursued strongly by the Czech trade unions, as also evident in their approach to precarious migrant workers. The chapter also comments on the current debate on the liberalization of Ukrainian migration to Czechia, which has been resisted by ČMKOS as a factor that could prolong a low-wage and low added-value economic strategy. More broadly, union opposition to these immigration policies is linked to the perception of ‘injustice’, in turn connected to the European labour market, which results in different remuneration for the same work in Czechia versus in the ‘West’.
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