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Negotiating Solidarity: Collective Actions for Precarious Migrant Workers’ Rights in Sweden
Linköping University, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Precarious migrant workers are today an everyday part of the Swedish labour market. They often work under conditions of vulnerability, on temporary contracts and with few rights. This dissertation examines collective actions aiming to improve the precarious conditions of three categories of workers –discriminated, seasonal and undocumented. The collective actors examined in the dissertation are composed of formal organisations such as non-governmental organisations, organisations founded on ethnic grounds and trade unions, but also more temporary groups and networks. The analysis foregrounds contemporary societal, economical and legal transfigurations that create the conditions for collaboration among the actors and the negotiations which they conduct. The dissertation contains four articles. The first article, addressing the situation of discriminated migrant workers, scrutinises the conditions for the engagement of anti-discrimination agencies. The result of the study illustrates how the actors, as a consequence of state subsidies, alter their original course of conduct by becoming market orientated,which contributes to tensions in relations with other collaborators. The second and third articles focus on the situation of Bulgarian-Roma berry pickers in the 2012 harvesting season. Thesearticles illuminate on the one hand, the driving forces to their labour migration and the challenges faced in Sweden, and on the other, the emergence of different collective actions and their significance for the workers. The fourth article centres on two trade union initiatives for the inclusion of undocumentedmigrant workers. The article analyses the challenges faced by the unions as they seek to extend solidarity to workers who are relegated to informal work. The article also elucidates that this endeavour,nonetheless, may have the potential to transform the political identity of trade unions and, by extension through collaborations with other collective actors, open the doors of solidarity for precarious EU migrants. In sum, the four articles show that there is a broad range of collective actors who are preparedto assist precarious migrant workers and to negotiate and at best improve their labour market conditions.These actors face many and difficult challenges. However, as the dissertation demonstrates, their engagement has made the reality of precarious migrant work visible to the public, legitimised the workers’ needs and enabled them to claim their rights.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. , p. 105
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 707
National Category
International Migration and Ethnic Relations Work Sciences Social Anthropology Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-134148DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-134148ISBN: 9789176855836 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-134148DiVA, id: diva2:1068485
Public defence
2017-02-24, Hörsal K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-01-25 Created: 2017-01-25 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Asymmetric Partnership: Migrant organisations, trade unions and equality Ombudsman
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Asymmetric Partnership: Migrant organisations, trade unions and equality Ombudsman
2011 (English)In: Revija za Sociologiju / Sociological Review, ISSN 0350-154X, E-ISSN 1846-7954, Vol. 41, no 1, p. 51-76Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study examines civil society agency for social inclusion among Associations Founded on Ethnic Grounds (AFEGs), focusing on their engagement for combating discrimination and enhancing migrant incorporation into the Swedish labour market. The overall rationale of the study investigates the complex institutional conditionality of AFEGs for developing their agency as social movement and civil society actors. The main aim of this study has been to understand how anti-discrimination agencies run by AFEGs, with subsidy support by the state, describe their experiences, and which implications the subsidy may have for the orientation and direction of their actions. The study comprises primarily interviews with anti-discrimination lawyers and heads of two agencies, but also interviews with representatives for the Equality Ombudsman. The greatest challenge for the agencies has been caused by subsidy cutbacks, which have affected both the working conditions of the agencies and other engagements of the AFEGs, such as educational courses among their members, awareness raising concerning the issues of anti-discrimination among different officials, in municipalities, trade unions and among employers. Due to the cutbacks, the civil society actors such as AFEGs have been forced to adapt to market principles by becoming entrepreneurs specialised, in this case, in the field of anti-discrimination law. The study further analyses the effects of this development as well as opportunity structures for collaboration with trade unions and the Equality Ombudsman. Even though these partnerships reveal relational asymmetries, the authors call attention to current and possible future openings in opportunity structures for wider collaboration between AFEGs, trade unions and the Equality Ombudsman.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Zagreb: , 2011
Keywords
social movement, integration, civil society, immigrant associations
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67527 (URN)10.5613/rzs.41.1.4 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-04-15 Created: 2011-04-15 Last updated: 2017-12-11
2. Roma berry pickers in Sweden: Economic crisis and new contingents of the austeriat
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Roma berry pickers in Sweden: Economic crisis and new contingents of the austeriat
2015 (English)In: Transfer - European Review of Labour and Research, ISSN 1024-2589, E-ISSN 1996-7284, Vol. 21, no 1, p. 37-50Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the current era of austerity free movement of labour has produced an ongoing but also contingent flow of migrant labour, an austeriat, moving from poorer crisis-hit regions of Europe to those countries such as Sweden where the crisis has been less severe. This article describes the working and living experiences of Bulgarian Roma berry pickers in Sweden. It argues that, in the context of a previously well-regulated labour market, an erosion of labour standards based on the exploitation of seasonal unskilled labour migrants from Bulgaria is occurring in the Swedish berry industry, in turn posing challenges for labour market actors and regulatory authorities. The article concludes with a discussion of what might be appropriate European and national trade union responses to the issues of labour precariousness which have emerged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015
Keywords
Roma, berry pickers, Bulgaria, austeriat, migration, Sweden, free movement
National Category
International Migration and Ethnic Relations
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-113558 (URN)10.1177/1024258914561411 (DOI)
Projects
Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Available from: 2015-01-22 Created: 2015-01-22 Last updated: 2017-10-18
3. Paradoxes of European free movement in times of austerity: The role of social movement actors in framing the plight of Roma berry pickers in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Paradoxes of European free movement in times of austerity: The role of social movement actors in framing the plight of Roma berry pickers in Sweden
2016 (English)In: International journal of sociology and social policy, ISSN 0144-333X, E-ISSN 1758-6720, Vol. 36, no 5, p. 289-303Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the capacities of social movement actors (SMAs) and interest groups to negotiate responsibility, heighten issues of accountability and earn legitimacy from authorities and the wider public for the plight of dis-privileged Roma migrant berry pickers in the Swedish labour market. The objective is guided by a multi-sited ethnographical approach to data collection and analysis, which theoretically anchors in social movement frame analysis. The paper proposes that SMAs, in the face of incapacities of state and industry parties, generate the potentiality to leverage immediate humanitarian distress experienced by the workers and to accentuate their political and public visibility. Delimited by the internal organisational structure of a berry industry, partly operating behind informal employment schemes, future studies should devote closer attention in localising/identifying possible “back-stage” data-gathering settings. Policy-makers and special-interest organisations concerned with internal EU labour migration, labour standards and living condition issues, may consider the social and humanitarian implications of persistent responsibility ambiguities. The paper raises issues of informal work and forms of labour exploitation. The paper provides deeper insight into the societal nexus in which a “hard-to-reach group” of seasonal workers faces potential and actual exploitation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2016
Keywords
Sweden, Bulgaria, Frame analysis, Internal EU seasonal migrants, Roma berry pickers, Social movement actors
National Category
Human Geography Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Business Administration Work Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-134147 (URN)10.1108/IJSSP-05-2015-0057 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-01-25 Created: 2017-01-25 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
4. Framing solidarity in the unionisation of undocumented migrant workers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Framing solidarity in the unionisation of undocumented migrant workers
2017 (English)In: Reimagineering the nation: essays on twenty-first-century Sweden / [ed] Aleksandra Ålund, Carl-Ulrik Schierup, Anders Neergard, Bern: Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2017, p. 303-325Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter explores the capacity of two Swedish trade union initiatives, SAC Syndicalists and LO-TCO centre, to extend solidarity to undocumented migrant workers. The author asks what solidarity linkages have been established since the shift of millennia and what obstacles encountered in forging solidarity between workers with strong versus weak legal status. He illuminates the emergence of a transformative form of solidarity, which may open for protection of new groups of disadvantaged workers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bern: Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2017
Series
Political and Social Change, ISSN 2198-8587
National Category
Law (excluding Law and Society) Economic History Work Sciences Law and Society Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-134360 (URN)10.3726/b10645 (DOI)9783631715185 (ISBN)9783631715208 (ISBN)9783631715192 (ISBN)
Available from: 2017-02-07 Created: 2017-02-07 Last updated: 2017-02-16Bibliographically approved

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