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 17: Comparing trade union attitudes and actions relating to immigration and migrant workers in 11 European countries

Stefania Marino, Judith Roosblad and Rinus Penninx


This chapter provides a cross-country comparison of union stances towards immigration and migrant workers by following the analytical framework discussed in the introduction. First, it provides an analysis of union responses to the three ‘dilemmas’. It subsequently comments on the extent to which the explanatory variables included in the framework account for observed differences across countries. Our comparative analysis has resulted in the identification of patterns in unions’ policies and actions across three groups of countries: the central-eastern European countries – the Czech Republic and Poland – whose trade unions have relatively undeveloped policies in relation to immigration and migrant workers; the north-west European countries – Austria, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK – whose trade unions have focused on the defence of migrant workers’ conditions in the labour market; and the Mediterranean countries – France, Italy and Spain – in which the defence of social rights has also been important.

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