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ETUI Webinar, 19 January 2021

Trade union strategies to organise migrant workers in Europe. How can migrant workers contribute to trade union revitalisation ?

19 January 2021, 9:00-16:00 Brussels time

The EU enlargement of  2004 resulted in high levels of labour migration from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to the Western European member states. Western European trade unions responded to the phenomenon of CEE migration by developing various initiatives which combined existing recruitment and inclusion strategies with innovative practices, such as new forms of organising, and a heightened focus on trade union revitalisation. The economic crisis of 2008 and the consequential precarisation of  the labour market has shifted the position of unions by including migrants in the larger group of precarious workers. The more recent refugee ‘crisis’ of 2015  has additionally pushed unions to develop novel policies that focus on refugees. However, the challenges related to migration are not only reduced to Western European countries, but they also concern trade unions from CEE countries such as Poland or the Czechia, which have become countries of destinations for workers from Eastern Europe.

The conference will engage and discuss research on the recent trade unions experiences and strategies in organising migrant workers and refugees with active scholars, studying the field of trade union renewal and migration. The conference aims to discuss the above challenges as well as to reflect on lessons learnt from the trade unions experiences over the past 17 years. The conference will also assess the level of preparedness of unions to future flows of migration and precarisation due to the 2020 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. Finally, it aims to address how migrants are contributing to trade union renewal within the context of decreasing trade union membership.

The conference will be divided into three panels. The first will provide a background discussion on the evolution of trade unions’ dilemmas and strategies in organising migrant workers. The second will examine trade unions’ approaches to  Spanish, Polish and Ukrainian migrant workers. The last panel will focus on undocumented workers and refugees.

Please find the agenda in English, French and Polish  here. Interpretation English/French/Polish will be available.

The conference is addressed to scholars and trade unionists, and is on invitation only. Register in advance for this webinar here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Welcome: Philippe Pochet, ETUI General Director, Ludovic Voet, Confederal Secretary ETUC and Adam Rogalewski, London Metropolitan University


Laurent Berger, President of ETUC; Nicola Countouris, Director of the ETUI Research Department; Stefania Marino, Work and Equalities Institute, University of Manchester; Rinus Penninx, University of Amsterdam; Miguel Martinez-Lucio, Work and Equalities Institute, University of Manchester; Maite Tapia, School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Michigan State University; Jane Holgateand Gabriella Alberti, Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change, University of Leeds; Guglielmo Meardi, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence; Adam Rogalewski, London Metropolitan University; Beltran Roca Martinez, University of Cádiz; Simone Castelliani, University of Lisbon; Dominika Polkowska, Institute of Sociology, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Poland; Sylvie Contrepois, Centre de Recherches Sociologiques et Politiques de Paris ; Heather Connolly, Grenoble Ecole de Management; Irina Aguiari, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence; Neva Löw, University of Kassel