The aim of this article is to analyse how different policies and actors have structured the current migrant labour regime in the Finnish construction sector and to discuss the consequences for migrants. Our study shows that a strong industrial relations system such as in Finland is able to curb the posting of workers regime (the most disadvantageous for migrant workers). The position of labour migrants has become more diverse in the segmented labour market, although it remains inferior compared to that of the natives. Consideration of the policy development revolving around the changing migrant labour regimes constitutes the first part of the analysis and is based on government and trade union officials’ accounts. The more substantial part of the study draws upon biographical interviews with Estonian construction workers and analyses the division of migrant labour according to their employment in four ‘patterns of firm ownership’ that range from the most unfavourable to most favourable position: workers posted by Estonian firms; workers employed by firms registered in Finland but operated by Estonians; self-employed/small business owners and workers employed by Finnish firms. The structuring of the regime according to the pattern of firm ownership can be interpreted as a manifestation of employers’ intentional strategies to adapt to or avoid national regulations and to some extent as also reflecting workers’ individual and collective agency.
This research was funded within the framework of Academy of Finland project ‘Industrial Citizenship and Labour Mobility in the EU: A Migrant Centered Study of Estonia-Finland and Albania-Italy Labour Mobility’, which was funded by the Research Council for Culture and Society (Principal Investigator Dr. Nathan Lillie) and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research funded project ‘Alternatives at Work and Work Organisation: Flexible Postsocialist Societies’ (Principal Investigator Dr. Triin Roosalu). We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers and editors of this issue, Line Eldring and Jon Erik Dolvik, for their helpful comments and suggestions.
Sippola, M. and Kall, K. (2016), "Locked in Inferiority? The Positions of Estonian Construction Workers in the Finnish Migrant Labour Regime", Labour Mobility in the Enlarged Single European Market (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 215-240. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-631020160000032009Download as .RIS
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