In an attempt to probe the nuanced processes of non-unionization, this article analyses the agency of migrant construction workers and the ways they negotiate and navigate an increasingly flexible and pan-European labour market. Drawing upon qualitative interview data, the article argues that the precarious employment context limits opportunities for effective collective action (and unionization), and that workers employ a wide range of strategies to ‘get by’ and ‘get ahead’ instead. This analysis contributes to an understanding of the resilience of current employment relations by extending the discussion of agency with the category of reworking. Instead of challenging the way cross-border employment relations are organized, migrant construction workers employ various strategies that rework existing conditions to their advantage. On a broader scale, however, these practices contribute to the continuation of current employment relations.
|Journal||Work, Employment and Society|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
- flexible employment
- migrant workers