Constructing uncertainty: Unions and migrant labour in construction in Spain and the UK: Unions and migrant labour in construction in Spain and the UK

Guglielmo Meardi*, Antonio Martín, Mariona Lozano Riera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The article provides a conceptualization of the link between recent migration flows and labour market uncertainty through the analysis of a critical example, the construction sector (characterized by economic volatility, worker mobility, employment insecurity, safety risk) in the UK and Spain (countries with large immigration, flexible labour markets and volatile construction sectors). Transnational labour mobility can be seen as a structural response to recent European dilemmas over how to combine flexibility and security, through the creation of a hyper-flexible buffer of migrant workers who, being disposable in case of downturn, can carry most of the uncertainty burden without causing markets and volatile construction sectors). Transnational labour mobility can be seen as a structural response to recent European dilemmas over how to combine flexibility and security, through the creation of a hyper-flexible buffer of migrant workers who, being disposable in case of downturn, can carry most of the uncertainty burden without causing political problems. This raises two issues: the social sustainability of such segmentation, in particular with regard to occupational health and safety; and the role organized labour can have, in particular in organizing such workers. The issues are analysed through labour market statistics and interviews with unionists, migrant organization representatives, employers and employment policy officers in both countries. © Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012

Keywords

  • construction
  • crisis
  • migration
  • trade unions
  • uncertainty

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Constructing uncertainty: Unions and migrant labour in construction in Spain and the UK: Unions and migrant labour in construction in Spain and the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this