Alternative trade union organizing of migrant workers in Northern Ireland in the wake of the Good Friday agreement

Paul Stewart, Brian Garvey, Tommy McKearney

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Abstract

The paper deals with an organised labour response to recent migration to Northern Ireland from the New Member States (NMS) following EU enlargement in 2004. A trade union’s approach to the problems confronting migrant workers is analyzed in the context of neo-liberal reforms of the labour market and shrinking of the welfare state. These changes have taken place in the context of a specific region still struggling to overcome the legacy of a long-lasting conflict from the 1960s until 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Furthermore, an innovative approach to migrant workers organising combining elements of solidarity and membership mobilisation and aiming at promoting a political and class solidaristic cross-sectarian agenda developed by the Independent Workers’ Union (IWU) is examined. e results are based on a research programme undertaken by the IWU to uncover the nature of the relationship between migrants, labour market changes and the trajectory of sectarianism in the north.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-108
Number of pages18
JournalWarsaw Forum of Economic Sociology
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • trade unions
  • migrant workers
  • organising

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