Rising to the Occasion? Trade Union Revitalisation and Migrant Workers in Ireland



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Contents


ABSTRACT 5

Acknowledgements 6

List of Figures 7

List of Abbreviations 8

SECTION 1: GLOBAL CONTEXT 10

CHAPTER ONE: TRADE UNIONS AND MIGRANT WORKERS 11

1.1 Research Problem 12

1.2. Research Rationale 13

1.3 Research Context 16

1.3.1. Trade Union Evolution 16

1.3.2. Labour and Globalisation 17

1.3.3. The Labour Movement and Immigrant Labour 19

1.3.4. Trade Union Revitalisation 22

1.3.5. The New Unionisms Debate 23

1.3.6. Migrant Workers and New Organisational Approaches 25

1.3.7. Challenges for the Labour Movement 26

1.4. Issues Emerging 27

1.5. Outline of the Thesis 30

CHAPTER TWO: RESEARCH DESIGN 33

2.1. Aims and Objectives 33

2.2. Methodology 34

2.2.1 A Mixed Methods Design 35

2.3. Thematic Analysis 37

2.3.1. Data Immersion 38

2.3.2. Generating initial codes 38

2.3.3. Identifying themes 39

2.3.4. Reviewing themes 39

2.3.5. Defining themes 40

2.3.6. Writing up 40

2.5. Data Collection 45

2.5.1. Documentary analysis 45

2.5.2. Participant observation 46

2.5.3. Survey 47

2.5.4. Interviews 48

2.5.5. Comparative analysis 50

2.6. Limitations 51

2.7. Conclusion 53

CHAPTER THREE: THE EUROPEAN DIMENSION 55

3.1. Phases of Immigration 56

3.2. Trade Union Typologies 59

3.3. Forms of Engagement 62

3.3.1. Initial Immigration: co-operation or resistance 64

3.3.2. Migrants: inclusion or exclusion 67

3.3.3. Migrants: equal or special treatment 72

3.3.4. Trade union responses: convergence and divergence 75

3.4. The Supra-national Dimension 78

3.5. Conclusion 83

SECTION 2: NATIONAL CONTEXT 86

CHAPTER FOUR: IRELAND, MIGRATION AND THE STATE 87

4.1. Background 88

4.2. Economic and labour market conditions and initial immigration 89

4.3. Economic and labour market conditions and post-accession immigration 92

4.4. Politico - legal context 96

4.5. The industrial relations context 107

4.5.1. Social partnership 108

4.5.2. Collective bargaining 112

4.5.3. Trade union models 113

4.5.4. Trade union decline 115

4.6. Conclusion 119

CHAPTER FIVE: MIGRANT WORKER UNIONISATION 121

5.1. Context 121

5.2. Policies and Rhetoric 122

5.2.1. Opening of the labour market 125

5.3. Attitudes and perceptions 127

5.4. Initial Organisation 129

5.4.1. Role of the individual activist 131

5.4.2. Migrant worker unionisation 135

5.5. Barriers to unionisation 137

5.5.1. Employers 138

5.5.2 Unions 139

5.5.3. Workforce 141

5.6. Conclusion 148

CHAPTER SIX: FARMS, FERRIES AND BUILDING SITES 150

6.1. Introduction 150

6.2. Migrant workers in the mushroom industry 151

6.2.1. Western Mushrooms 152

6.2.2 The industrial relations process 155

6.2.3. Where were the unions? 156

6.3. The GAMA dispute: exploitation reaches unionised employment 157

6.3.1. The GAMA case 158

6.3.2. Beyond the media story 161

6.3.3. Migrant worker issues on the national agenda 163

6.4. Irish Ferries, exploitation and displacement: trade unions say ‘Stop!’ 165

6.4.1. The Dispute 166

6.4.2. The Services Directive 169

6.4.3. Irish Ferries replace Irish workers 170

6.4.4. The resolution 172

6.5. Partnership resumes with ‘Towards 2016’ 173

6.6. Conclusion 176

CHAPTER SEVEN: TRADE UNION REVITILISATION STRATEGIES AND NEW ORGANISATIONAL APPROACHES 181

7.1. Trade union revitalisation 181

7.2. New organisational approaches 183

7.3. Irish trade union approaches 185

7.3.1. SIPTU leads the way 185

7.3.2. The Unite approach 186

7.3.3. Mandate attempts transformation 187

7.3.4. INMO maintains service model 188

7.3.5. Other unions’ efforts 189

7.4. Irish organising campaigns 190

7.4.1 Mushroom industry 191

7.4.2. Red Meat Campaign 191

7.4.3. Fair Hotels’ Campaign 192

7.4.4. Mandate’s IKEA Campaign 194

7.5. Inclusion measures 195

7.5.1. Interpretation, translation and language training 196

7.5.2. Migrant organisers 197

7.5.3. Co-operation and collaboration 198

7.5.4. Migrant worker representation in trade union structures 201

7.5.5. Level of resources 202

7.5.6. Research 203

7.6. Conclusion 204

SECTION 3: OVERVIEW 206

CHAPTER EIGHT: ORGANISING: THE WAY FORWARD? 207

8.1. Context 207

8.2. The Irish trade union response 209

8.3. Explanatory factors for union response 214

8.4. Contribution to literature 215

8.6. Future research 218

BIBLIOGRAPHY 220

APPENDICES 247





ABSTRACT



Rising to the Occasion? Irish Trade Unions and Labour Migration, 1995-2010
Mary Hyland
Ireland’s rapid economic growth from the mid-1990’s combined with the opening up of the Eastern European labour market, led to Ireland moving from being a country of net outward migration to becoming one of net inward migration at a speed that was unprecedented. This created a major challenge to the Irish trade union movement which was already operating in a context of the erosion of traditional forms of employment and employment relations and a declining membership.
This thesis will explain the impact of migration to Ireland on trade union policies, rhetoric, attitudes and organisational approaches. It foregrounds the influence of the trade union movement on the migration policy environment and investigates the trade union response to labour migration in terms of changing forms of employment relations as a result of outsourcing, the increasing presence of labour market intermediaries and the growth of the informal sector and irregular forms of employment. The thesis is situated in the context of the international debates around the economic, political and social modalities of trade union action. The Irish case will, in its turn, illuminate those debates and posit a new and emerging model of unionism based on a particular combination of modalities.
The primary contribution of this thesis is to the trade union revitalisation debate. A comparative diachronic methodology illuminates the role that the key tipping points of the two major industrial disputes at Gama and Irish Ferries played in that debate and in the subsequent reconfiguring of capital, labour and state relations. I posit, in conclusion, that the emerging Irish model of union organising is a distinct variant on the international organising model, based primarily on the organisation of migrant labour and internal union dynamics.



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