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 15: Trade unions and migration in the Czech Republic, 2004–15

Marek Čaněk

Abstract

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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