The Challenge from East - Trade Union Strategies and Eastern European Migrant Workers – University of Copenhagen

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16 April 2013

The Challenge from East - Trade Union Strategies and Eastern European Migrant Workers

Article by Søren Kaj Andersen and Jens Arnholtz

Eastern European labour migrants has proven to be a significant challenge for Danish trade unions due to their lower expectations regarding wages and working conditions and the unions' limited success in organizing the migrants. The strategic response of Danish trade unions has been based partly on organizing and coverage of collective agreements, partly on a political dimension pushing public authorities and politicians to act against social dumping. So far the unions have only managed to organize a minority of the new labour migrants. They have had some success in convincing the employers to include certain steps against social dumping in the collective agreements, however there has also been clear limits to this bipartite cooperation on this issue. More convincingly, the unions have created considerable political attention around the issue of social dumping. This has been based partly in on a tripartite dialogue which today has by and large become institutionalized, and partly on a media-strategy aimed at creating attention around Eastern European labour and the concept of social dumping.

Article in Økonomi og Politik, vol. 86, no. 1, April 2013.