28 August 2009

The accession migration into construction

-a comparative analysis of trade union
responses in Denmark, Norway and the UK

Article by Line Eldring, Ian Fitzgerald, Jens Arnholtz Hansen

The mobility of labour and services across Europe in the wake of EU enlargement
has exceeded most predictions and expectations. Since May 2004, the UK alone has
received more than 812,000 accession country registrations, the majority of them
Polish. The Nordic countries have also proved to be attractive destinations, with more
than 200,000 issued work permits to A10 citizens in the same period. Two thirds of
the permits have been given in Norway, with Denmark being the second largest
recipient of A10 labour among the Nordic countries (Dølvik and Eldring 2008). In all
the three countries, the construction sector is standing out as one of the industries
recruiting most migrants and in all three countries irregular forms of employment and
bad working conditions have been observed amongst the migrants (Eldring 2008,
Hansen & Andersen 2008, Lillie and Greer 2007). The huge influx of migrants from
the new 'low-wage" EU member states to the old 'high-wage' member states of
EU/EEAs have thus stirred intense debates on im plications for wage and working
conditions, and the national labour market regimes. The trade unions in most
receiving countries have engaged in various measures and campaigns to combat
social dumping and to organize the new migrant workers.

15th IIRA World Congress, 24.- 27. august 2009, Sydney