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									Women in the emigration labor market.
Spanish women in Germany, 1960-1975
                                                                                                Gloria Sanz Lafuente1
                                                                                             Navarra Public University
                                                                                              Department of Economy

The process of emigration does not depend on the isolated economic situation of any
single country – be it that of departure or of arrival. It is rather based on the economic,
social, political and communications relationship established between the two countries
and on the own feedback dynamics of the emigration phenomenon through emigration
networks. Underpinning Germany’s high growth rates and a process of increasing
outsourcing lay the now discredited “economic miracle”.2 In Spain, the 1959
Stabilization and Liberalization plan signaled a turnaround in the economic policies of
the Dictatorship. These were the days when “developmentalism” appeared on the
scene and economic variables began to recover, showing growth after the hard years
of autarchy. Over these years there was a strong spurt of growth, featuring strong
regionalism. If the GDP is any guide, this indicator grew annually by over 7% during 15
years.3 This high growth rate period will coincide with the departure to other countries
in Europe of the greatest number of Spanish emigrants ever. In 1972 there were about
184,000 Spaniards working in Germany. Some 30% of these were women. During this
complex period, an accelerated growth process combined with a progressive
dismanteling of farming as an economic sector and a source of wages and
employment, and the appearance of a low-wage industrial sector which also generated
less employment than expected. These would be the years of the rejection of farming
activity, which was seen as synonymous with retarded social development compared
with city life and industry, which were identified with modernity. Net employment barely
increased during these years in Spain, with its cross-sectoral worker migration.
Farming lost two million jobs during this period, and this working population was
absorbed by industry – which was then focusing on incorporating capital-intensive low-
labor production technology – in the building industry, and especially in the service

    This research was carried out with the financing og the Institut für Europäische Geschichte en Mainz.
 GROSSER, D. (1988) “Das Wirtschaftswunder (1948-1973)” en GROSSER, D. et alii (Ed.) Soziale Markwirtschaft, Stuttgart, pp.
80-99. LEHMANN, A. (1993) Im Fremden ungewollt zuhaus. Flüchtlinge und Vertriebene in Westdeutschland 1945-1990,
 GARCÍA DELGADO, J.L. (Dir.) (1999) España, Economía: ante el siglo XXI, Madrid, Espasa. PEREZ, Francisco GOERLICH,
Francisco J. MAS, Matilde (1996) Capitalización y crecimiento en España y sus regiones, 1955-1995, Madrid, Fundación BBV.
Sobre el desarrollo industrial, FANJUL, Oscar SEGURA, Julio (1977) Dependencia productive exterior de la economía española,
1962-1970, Madrid, Fundación del INI. FUENTES QUINTANA, E. (1988) “Tres decenios de economía española en perspectiva”
en GARCIA DELGADO, J.L. (Ed.) España. Economía, Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, pp. 1-24.

sector.4 Despite the wage growth figures observed as from the late fifties, most of the
new personal income was invested in basic consumer goods such as food and
clothing, little remaining over for savings.

The use of general catchwords such as “developmentalism” or “economic miracle”
sometimes masks very different kinds of situations that remain hidden behind the major
variables. “Developmentalism” 5 ended up by exporting labor force to the rest of Europe
in the 1960-1975 period, and the German “economic miracle” ended up by becoming a
temporary recipient of mostly transitory “rotating” labor. Within this context, the German
market became the recipient of workers from a number of different countries. If there
had been some 73,000 foreign workers in Germany in 1954, by 1969 the number had
increased to 1.5 million. If the percentage of foreign workers had been 1.6% in 1960,
by 1973 it was 11.9%. This was not an isolated case. Great Britain, France, Belgium
and Switzerland all showed similar figures at around the same dates. In 1966, for
example, the percentage of foreign workers in Germany was about 6% with a similar
figure in Belgium. France had some 8%, Switzerland around 26% and Luxemburg
about 30%.6

The migratory flow to Europe started around the mid-fifties and happened in the midst
of a global labor market reorganization process in Western Europe7 and within a
context of closure of emigration to Germany from its traditional supply areas. These
areas had been its large areas of influence in Eastern Europe, and neighboring
countries like Poland.8 European emigration brought together countries in the sphere of
Western influence with well-differentiated political and economic situations, such as
Italy, Greece and Spain, albeit it would later be extended to others that were closer to
the Iron Curtain, such as Yugoslavia. In April 1960, an agreement was signed between
the Adenauer government in the Federal German Republic and Franco’s Dictatorship,
by which Spanish emigration to Germany was organized. This was not an isolated
agreement, but formed part of a series of agreements the Federal Government signed

 LLOPIS, E. (2002) “ El desempleo en España: mercadod e trabajo, herencia económica del franquismo y subempleo agrario” en
Papeles de economía española,
  CEBRIAN, M. (2001) “Las fuentes del crecimiento económico español, 1964-1973” en COMIN, F. SANCHEZ BLANCO, B.
(Eds.) Los novísismos en la historia económica de España. Revista de Historia Económica, año XIX, número extraordinario.
BARCIELA, C. LOPEZ, M.I. MELGAREJO, J. MIRANDA, J.A (2001) La España de Franco (1939-1975), Economía, Madrid,
Síntesis. GONZALEZ, M.J. (1979) La economía política del franquismo (1940-1970). Dirigismo, Mercado y planificación, Madrid,
    Erfahrungsbericht. 1966.
 KING, Russell RYBACZUK, Krysia (1993) “Southern Europe and the International Division of Labour: From Emigration to
Immigration” en KING RUSSELL (ed.) The New Geography of European Migration, London, pp. 175-206.
    BADE, Klaus J. (1983) Von Auswanderungsland zum Einwanderungsland? Deutschland 1880-1980, Berlín, 1983.

with different countries: Italy in 1955, Spain and Grece in 1960,9 Turkey in 1961,
Portugal in 1964, Yugoslavia and Tunisia in 1969. Neither was Germany the only
country the Dictatorship signed an emigration agreement with. Others were signed with
Belgium in 1956, France, Holland and Austria in 1961 and with Switzerland in 1964.
The agreements with European countries – all different – established the recruiting
system, working conditions, wages, lodging, family reuniting strategies and social
welfare benefits accruing to emigrants, as well as certain regulations on money

As from the mid-fifties a gradual change took place in Dictatorship emigration policies.
If the 1941 decree, issued at the height of the post-civil war period “banned emigration”
arguing that “all moral and physical effort must be channeled towards the
reconstruction of the country”, once the Second World War was over and foreign trade
was reorganized, another and more permissive set of arguments began to emerge, in
which emigration was deemed to be an “unalienable human right”. This right was
framed in a context of obligatory State intervention to “control, orientate, protect and
care for emigrants”.10 Before these outward flows to Europe there had been other
migratory movements in Spain, both domestically and abroad, leading the Dictatorship
to include the issue of emigration in its legislation and administrative flowcharts.11 The
migratory process within the framework of dictatorship had already introduced a
change in 1956. Emigration, which had been considered up to the thirties as a
“disgrace” or a “societal dysfunction”, became seen once and for all as a “faculty
deriving from the recognition of full human personality, and therefore not subject to
legitimate restriction”. As from the late sixties, a culture favoring “temporary emigration
to Europe” was popularized by way of mouth among emigrants, and supported by the
Spanish Emigration Institute (SEI).

Emigration policy was renewed with the creation of the Spanish Emigration Institute in
1956 within the Labor Ministry, and combined developmentalism’s novel “liberalization”
of the labor market with government intervention aimed at managing emigration

  SANZ DÍAZ, Carlos (2004) “Clandestinos”, “ilegales” y “espontáneos”. La emigración illegal de españoles a Alemania en el
contexto de las relaciones hispano-alemanas, 1960-1973”, Madrid, Comisión Española de Historia de las Relaciones
   KREIENBRINK, Axel (2004) Einwanderungsland Spanien. Migrationspolitik zwischen Europäisierung und nationalen
Interessen, Frankfurt am Main, IKO, p. 55-56.
 FERNANDEZ VICENTE, M. J. (2003) « Entre política « sociolaboral » y « Realpolitik ». La política del régimen franquista en
materia de emigración, 1946-1956 » en Ayer 51, pp. 179- 199.

flows.12 The SEI’s work took place in a policy framework considering emigration to be a
part of the State’s social and economic policy.13 In this sense, the links between the
demand for workers sent abroad, capital exports and the entry of foreign currency had
already been explained by the Director of the SEI, Rodríguez de Valcárcel, in 1960,
and arguments similar to his had been published in the SEI’s publications, showing the
contribution of emigration to “economic development” and the role it played in the
domestic labor market.14

Emigration was a “gray area” within developmentalism, but was not seen as such by
the Dictatorship’s technocrats. The importance of emigration as an exporter of labor on
the one hand15, and the inflow of foreign currency sent back by emigrants on the
other16 were the aspects that had already been pointed out by research dating from the
late seventies. The Minister of Labor Juan Manuel Villar Mir also used other arguments
that now explored the relationship between the labor market, development and
emigration. As well as establishing a strict relationship between wage differences in
both countries – above all by comparing the wages of the Spanish rural population with
their counterparts in Germany – as an incentive to emigrate to that country, he argued
as follows regarding the possibility of a return to Spain of the emigrants: “The Spanish
economy’s ability to reabsorb these workers is, however, limited, and their
reincorporation can only be contemplated as a very slow process.” 17 In 1963, Manuel
Alonso Olea, Director-General of Employment in the Labor Ministry pointed out in an
article published in Germany: “Spain may not allow itself the risk of undergoing

  The Ley de creación del IEE de 18 de julio de 1956, the la ley de bases de la emigración en diciembre de 1960 and the la ley de
ordenación de la emigración de mayo de 1962 are the most important instruments of the migration policy of the Franco’s
   BUNDESARCHIV KOBLENZ: B/119/ 3020 Erfahrungsberichte 1965 verschiedener Landesarbeitsämter sowie der Deutschen
Kommissionen in Italien, Spanien und Griechenland. Erfajrungsbericht in Spanien, p. 7. “ Die Auswanderung zur vorübergehenden
Beschäftigung im Ausland wird von offizieller Seite als teilmassnahme zur wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung Spaniens betrachtet und
dementsprechen gefördert. Die Spargeldüberweisungen der im Ausland tätigen Spanier stellen einen wichtigen Bestandteil des
Entwicklungsplan dar und dienen dem Ausgelich der Zahlungsbilanz”.También argumentos en favor de la relación entre política de
emigración y política económica en el Franqusimo hay que señalar KREIENBRINK, A. (2004) p. 61 “In der Summe ist
festzustellen, dass anders als vor dem Franco- Regime Auswanderungspolitik zu einem aktiven Bestandteil der Wirtschaftspolitik
geworden war.” También en NAVARRO LÓPEZ, Manuel (1981) “ El contexto socioeconómico de la emigración continental
española (1945-1975)” en GARMENDIA, José A. (Ed. ) La emigración española en la encrucijada. Marco general de la
emigración de retorno, Madrid, pp. 15-41.
     INSTITUTO ESPAÑOL DE EMIGRACIÓN (1959)(Ed.) La emigración y el desarrollo económico, Madrid.
  FERNANDEZ ASPERILLA, Ana (1998) “La emigración como exportación de mano de obra. El fenómeno migratorio a Europa
durante el Franquismo” en Historia Social 30, pp. 63-81.
  RODENAS CALATAYUD, Carmen (1994) Emigración y economía en España (1960-1990), Madrid. OPORTO DEL OLMO,
Antonio (1992) Emigración y ahorro en España 1959-1986, Madrid. MANCHO, Santiago (1978) Emigración y desarrollo español,
Madrid. CAMPOS NORDMANN, Ramiro (1976) La emigración española en el crecimiento económico español, Madrid.
   ADCV (ARCHIV DES DEUTSCHEN CARITASVERBANDES) 380.22.048. Sozialdienst für Spanier. “Beschäftigung und
Auswanderung” discurso de Juan Manuel Villar Mir con motivo de la recepción en Madrid de miebrois de Caritas de Alemania.
27.2.1965. “Der dritte Nutzniesser – der Auswanderung - ist das Vaterland, Spanien. Einen Nutzen hat nicht etwa die Wirtschaft in
ihrer Gesamtheit, denn der Auswanderer ist unproduktiv. Die Gelder, die er nach Hause schickt, etwa 200 bis 300 Millionen Dollar
jährlich, sind seine einzige Gesellschaftseinlage, die, gemessen an Produktivität und Volkseinkommen recht gering ist.”... “ Die
Aufnhamefähigkeit der spanischen Wirtschaft ist jedoch begrentz und die Eingliereung kann nur langsam vor sich gehen”.

massive enforced labor strikes. Any solution that may avoid this possibility is a good
one – including emigration -, not only simply for the community but also for the
emigrant him/herself …Emigration is the lesser evil when compared with the infinitely
greater one of an enforced labor strike. (…) Another benefit of emigration: Here (in
Germany) wages are higher than those in Spain»18

The purpose of this paper is not to study the whole feminine emigrant population that
arrived in Germany, but rather to present a study that approaches the integration of
Spanish women in the emigrant labor market from a historical and economic
perspective. The idea is to locate these women as economic and social agents within a
new country and labor market by introducing a focus which is both quantitative and
qualitative, and analyzing their limitations, conditioning factors and decision making.
The female emigrants are seen as agents with their own agenda in their labor market
incorporation. Similarly, an attempt is made to analyze the key situations that
influenced them during this period, such as the 1966 and 1973 crises. The main
objective is on the one hand to study the tendencies shown by men and women in
joining this labor market, and on the other, the aspects of this process that show
changes or continuity. Basically, the idea is to study the female occupational sectors –
mostly those of services and industry – by comparison with those of other countries.
Initial hardships, the labor situation, timetables and job changes – or high levels of self-
exploitation - featuring long working days, are the aspects to be considered in this
analysis. The degree of qualification or lack of qualification of the emigrant female
workers is also studied.

2.     Development of the number of Spanish female workers in the German
labor market

Despite its attempts at control, the Dictatorship government did not actually manage to
control the departure of emigrants, especially during the first few years. So-called
assisted emigration formed part of the flow of emigrants into Germany. In 1961,
52.95% of Spanish emigrants arriving in Germany had used the German Commission
in Madrid to obtain their entry permits, and by 1966 this group represented 68%. The
remainder sought other means of obtaining their entry permits. The emigrants’ stay in
Germany was generally quite a short one. This type of emigration had been, more than

  ADCV. 380.221. 226 Deutscher Caritas Verband E. V. Bericht über die zweite Jahrestagung der Sozialbetrruer für die spanische
Arbeitnehmer in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Freiburg im Breisgau, 25 .bis 30. Dezember 1963. Manuel Alonso Olea Director
General de Empleo del Ministerio de Trabajo. « La emigración:motivos y situación actuales » pp. 128- 133. Aquí p. 130.

anything else, a “calculated” rotation of the labor force seeking higher personal
productivity at a certain period of their lives, rather than a lasting phenomenon.19 If we
take as a reference the data supplied by a 1968 study of the occupation of foreign
workers by the Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsvermittlung und Arbeitslosenversicherung
(BAAV), the whole group of emigrants – both men and women – was within the 25-35
year age group, and stayed on average between 2 and 7 years. Their return was not
properly controlled either. Between 1960 and 1967, 67% of the Spanish female
emigrants to Germany had apparently returned to Spain.20 The emigrants, acting as
social agents, had bypassed economic provisions and political controls.

The reports from the German Commission in Madrid also show the existence of
aspects differentiating the treatment of men and women. On the one hand, the
authorities of the SEI on several occasions showed a lack of enthusiasm about
femenine emigration. On the other, the ability to travel alone seeking work in Germany
was outside the personal scope of most Spanish women in the sixties, and this was
reflected in the reports issued by the German Commission in Madrid. The work of this
body in Spain was never as untrammeled as it desired, and was at all times controlled
by the authorities of the SEI and the Labor Ministry. The difficulties of hiring women
were shown in two ways. First, the German officials in Madrid noted the lack of
collaboration received from Spanish authorities, who were negatively disposed toward
feminine emigration. Second, the reports by the German officials in Spain refer to the
problems arising from cultural values that made it difficult for a woman to emigrate
alone without her family or relatives.21

The family networks and their support were more important in the decision to emigrate
for women than for men. When a group of 491 Spanish emigrants to Germany (345
men and 146 women) were asked in 1967 about the reasons for their decision, they all
answered in terms alluding to the prospect of a new life in Germany including strong
personal communication links with family members who had remained behind in Spain.
A large number of them mentioned such ideas as “I had been told that wages were

  RODENAS CALATAYUD, Carmen (1998) “Emigración exterior y mercado de trabajo en España (1960-1985)” en Exils et
migrations ibériques au XX siècle Nº 3-4, pp. 139-154.
  SÁNCHEZ LÓPEZ, Francisco (1969): Emigración española a Europa. Madrid, Confederación Española de Cajas de Ahorros, p.
52. También referencias ROMANO-GARCÍA, Manuel (1995): «Die spanische Minderheit», en SCHMALZ-JACOBSEN, C. y
HANSEN, G.: Ethnische Minderheiten in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Ein Lexikon. München, Beck, pp. 468-48. Sobre la
elevada tasa de rotación de los emigrantes españoles en Alemania en los años 70, en especial a partir de 1974 ver BREITENBACH,
Barbara von (1982): Italiener und Spanier als Arbeitnehmer in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Eine vergleichende Untersuchung
zur europäischen Arbeitsmigration. Grünewald: Kaiser, p. 36.
  BUNDESARCHIV KOBLENZ: B/119/ 3020 Erfahrungsberichte 1965 verschiedener Landesarbeitsämter sowie der Deutschen
Kommissionen in Italien, Spanien und Griechenland. Erfahrungsbericht Spanien, p. 14.

  high” and “I had heard good things about the country”. The existence of family links,
  however, remained a more important factor in the women’s decision to emigrate than in
  that of the men.

                        Spanish worker population in Germany 1960-1975

                                              1960    1961     1962      1963     1964     1965     1966      1967     1968
      Total Spainish workers              16459      61819    94049    119559 151073 182754 178154 118028 115864
              Women                                           24303     34334   42914    52725    55328      47093   40548
                Men                                           69746     85225   108159 130029 122826         70935   75316

        % men (total Spain)                                   74,16     71,28    71,59    71,15    68,94     60,10    65,00
      % women (total Spain)                                   25,84     28,72    28,41    28,85    31,06     39,90    35,00
  % Spanish women (total foreign
   working women in Germany)                                  18,46     19,57    19,78    18,60    16,34     16,42    12,63
% Spanish men ( total foreign working
         men in Germany)                                      12,03     13,05    14,07    13,93    12,60     10,07    9,80

                                                             1969      1970     1971     1972     1973      1974     1975
               Total Spainish workers                        143058 171671 186585 184203 179157 149718 124533
                        Women                                45066     50546    53936    55711    55122     55122    55122
                         Men                                 97992     121125 132649 128492 124035 102136            84450

                 % men (total Spain)                         68,50     70,56    71,09    69,76    69,23     68,22    67,81
                % women (total Spain)                        31,50     29,44    28,91    30,24    30,77     36,82    44,26
  % Spanish women (total foreign working women in
                      Germany)                               10,26      9,06    8,51     8,07     7,80       7,80    7,80
% Spanish men ( total foreign working men in Germany)         9,23      8,71    8,25     8,75     7,56       6,46    6,34
                    Fuente: Fuente: BAAV, Amtliche Nachrichten der Bundesanstalt für Arbeit

  At the beginning of the seventies, 1,500 Spanish women held jobs in Germany
  according to the Catholic charity organization Caritas in that country. German
  businessmen sought their employment contacts in certain well limited areas of Spain,
  as shown by the fact that 80% of the foreign workers in a canning establishment in the
  north of Germany hailed from Vigo – no mere coincidence. Emigration networks –
  understood not so much as illegal or exploitation-oriented relationships, but rather as
  family and friendship links – served to reduce the costs and risks of emigration, provide
  information and guarantee a contract beforehand. These networks lay at the roots of
  emigration, generating communication processes that fed the migratory flow. Two
  representatives             of        the       German             catholic      organization            Katholischer
  Mädchenschutzverband paid a visit to several firms and discovered that the actual
  figure for Spanish female workers was 2,075. Up to that time, traditional emigration by

Austrian women had covered a number of jobs, mostly in the textile and canning
industries and some other food industries. As from these years, the Austrian migratory
female workers – whose numbers would progressively decline – would be gradually
substituted by women from Spain, Italy and Greece.

In the early sixties, Spanish workers represented 11.26% of the total foreign workers in
the German labor market. In 1964 and 1965, their share peaked at 15.33 and 15.02%.
As from this point their percentage began to wane, reaching 6.11% in 1975. The
preponderance of Italian workers and the growing presence of Turks and Yugoslavs,
together with the gradual shrinkage of the worker population from 1966 to 1968 had led
to the situation in 1975, when Spain figured fourth in the supply of workers to the
German labor market (6.11%), under Turkey (26.65%), Yugoslavia (20.40%), Italy
(14.34%) and Greece (9.62%). As from the 1966 crisis, worker immigration to Germany
had dropped, and for some of the new arrivals the high personal productivity and
savings cycle marking earlier years had begun to shrink. Spain’s figures for annual
emigration to Germany had begun to drop in 1971, in step with dropping worker
demand in Germany, to such an extent that even before the 1973 crisis, the emigration
market was already recessive. If we study the general development of the occupation
of female emigrants in Germany, an interesting fact is that in 1962, 74.16 % of workers
employed in Germany were men and 25.84% women. In that year, Greece had 70.27%
male and 29.73% female workers. In Italy’s case the figures for women were lower:
only 9.51 against 90.49% for men. Greece, Spain and later Yugoslavia would be the
countries showing the consistently highest proportion of female workers over the total
number of workers of any given nationality employed in Germany.

The 1966 report by the Federal Labor Ministry gave the proportion of female workers
over total foreign workers in Germany as 25.8%, showing that it was under that of
German women workers (34%). However, a closer look showed the existence of
significant differences. The highest percentage of female workers over the total
emigrant worker population of any country in the German employment market was that
of Greece with 40%, followed by Spain with 31%, then Italy with 18% and Turkey with
16%. Emigration was far from being a cohesive phenomenon with uniform
characteristics, showing a high degree of heterogeneousness in its incorporation within
the labor market.

In its first reports on the situation of foreign female workers in Germany, Caritas also
pointed out the strong job offer in hospitals, private residences and hotels. The labor

attaché in the Spanish embassy in Bonn considered that this kind of work was “better
for the girls”, and had conveyed this opinion to Madrid, while pointing out that they
“reacted unfavorably towards publicity, and were especially keen on factory jobs”. 22
The 1969 report by the German Commission in Madrid again stressed that Spanish
women “sought jobs in industry because hospital, restaurant and hotel work was also
available to them in Spain, and they did not consider it sufficient justification to travel”.23
Factory work in German industry was also a primary objective for male emigrants.
Despite the middlemen charging for job placement services, the withholding of Spanish
passports by German firms as a strategy to prevent worker dropout, and in short, the
myriad problems faced by Spanish female emigrant workers, their numbers in the
German labor market increased steadily up to the 1966/67 crisis.                                          Women hailing
from rural areas with previous experience of emigration were the main protagonists of
this phenomenon.

When a contract had been signed, this meant checking on compliance with the terms.
The overall picture is somewhat hazy due to the lack of statistical data. However, in the
survey carried out by Caritas in Germany and published in 1967, 28% of the men and
26% of the women surveyed declared that “the real situation they found coincided with
the information they had been given”. If 28% of the men complained they had not been
sufficiently informed about wage levels, discounts and working conditions, this
percentage rose to 42% for women.25 This dissatisfaction was behind the 1961 pay rise
strike by 76 of the 100 Spanish employees in Cologne’s Stollwerk plant. The event was
described in the following terms by the German Caritas respresentatives in the area:

           “It is presumed that there is a Spanish communist group active in Cologne that persuaded the young
           girls to strike. The girls have taken the event in their stride with a typically southern attitude. The 24
           girls who continued working were threatened and whipped, and some doors and windows were
           broken, among other things. The girls took the train to their consulate in Düsseldorf, where an
           attempt was made at calming them down (...) Our Spanish helper, Milagros Naval, who has been with
           us for a month and knows her countrywomen’s mentality very well, tried to reason with the excited

   ADCV 380.22.048. Sozialdienst für Spanier. Bericht über die Informationsreise, welche in der Deutschen Bundesrepublik
erfolgte, um Arbiets- und Lebesnbedingungen spanischer Frauen und Mädchen im Betrieb und am Ort ihrer Unterbringung
kennenzulernen. (1961 ?)
  BUNDESARCHIV KOBLENZ: B/119/ 3013 Erfahrungsberichte 1969 verschiedener landesarbeitsämter sowie der
Kommissionen und Verbindungsstellen in Jogoslawien und Italien. Erfahrungsbericht. Deutsche Kommission in Spanien 1969.
     Bericht. Beschäftigung ausländischer Arbietnehmer in der Bundesrepublik. 1966. p. 6
  ADCV. 380.22.708 Sozialdienst für Spanier.Deutscher Caritasverband. Asistencia Social para españoles. Encuesta realizada en de
octuibre de 1965 a marzo de 1966. Publicadas en 1967.

        girls, with little success (...) Meanwhile, things have calmed down a bit and the girls are back at work
        although no salary concessions have been made” 26

3.    Sectors of feminine and masculine work in the 1960-75 emigrant labor

Any research study focusing on the analysis of the labor market from the gender
viewpoint usually ends up by having to analyze the segmentation of the market into
areas allocated to men and women respectively. Admitting that such segmentation
indeed existed, and that in secors that were shared by men and women, as we will see,
gender-based wage differences did exist, one must take into account that emigration
contributed to generate in its protagonists, and especially in women, a labor market
experience beyond that which they had already possessed – generally speaking, in
farming and domestic service – and that in both of these cases, their skills were re-
orientated toward industrial work. Despite what Spanish emigrants shared in common
with those from all the other countries in regard to integration within the German labor
market, their experience was conditioned to a major extent by the support they
received from existing networks of emigrants from their own country, leading to some
interesting national differences.

Distribution of foreign workers of both sexes by occupational sector and country in 1964

                                      Men                    Total Italy       Spain     Greece
                       Primary                                1,3 1,1           1,4       0,6
                       Energy /mining                         7,6 6,8           6,6       6,7
                       Metallurgy/ iron and steel
                       Industry                               34,2 28,2        43,5       47,0
                       Manufactururing industry               18,3 17,5        20,6       30,1
                       Construction                           27,3 36,6        17,7       11,0
                        Commerce/ Finances/
                       Insurances                             3,6     2,2      2,3        2,0
                       Services                               2,3     2,4      1,2        0,8
                       Transports                             3,3     4,2      5,3        0,8
                       Public Services                        2,1     1,0      1,4        1,0
                       Total                                  100     100      100        100

                                 Women                 Total Italy Spain             Greece
                        Primary                         0,6 0,5     0,3               0,3
                        Energy /mining                  0,5 0,8     0,3               0,3
                        Metallurgy/ iron and steel
                        Industry                   27,6 26,8            30,6           42,4

  ADCV 380.22.172. Fasz. 2. Sozialdienst für Spanier. Mädchenschutz. Carta de Frau Trimborn de Diozesan.Caritasverband en
Köln 19.4.1961 a Frau Gerhardy en Freiburg sobre la huelga de las empleadas en Stollwerk en Colonia.

                        Manufactururing industry 43,0 50,7              50,7         48,2
                        Construction              0,4 0,5                0,1          0,1
                        Commerce/ Finances/
                        Insurances                6,7 4,0               2,6           1,2
                        Services                 11,2 11,7              6,7           3,0
                        Transports                0,7 0,9               0,7           0,3
                        Public Services           9,3 4,1               8,0           4,2
                        Total                    100 100                100           100
                                       Fuente: BAAV. Erfahrungsbericht. 1965

By 1964 worker incorporation by country showed a high concentration of jobs in the
metallurgical and steel industries and the manufacturing industry. However, there were
interesting differences among the countries involved. While a major percentage
(36.6%) of Italian workers was employed by the building industry, 47% of the Greek
workers worked in metallurgy and the steel and manufacturing industries, and 43% of
the Spanish workers were also to be found in this sector. While the manufacturing
industry employed 20.6% and 30.1% respectively of Spanish and Greek workers, the
percentage droped to 17.7% in the case of Italy. If we look at the women, most of them
were employed in the manufacturing industry, but also showed some interesting
differences compared with those of other nationalities. Here, Spain was first with 50%
of its female workers employed in this sector. However, metallurgy and the steel
industry employed only 30.6% of them compared with 42.4% of the Greek women.
These differences showed that the immigration networks had also done their job in this
area. Spanish emigrant workers were absorbed by the German labor market in the
manufacturing industry and in lower-paid jobs.27

4.        Remuneration and working conditions for Spanish female emigrant
workers to Germany in the 1960-1975 period
If Spanish emigration to Germany was marked by a high proportion of women -
compared with other countries – and if additionally, emigration had become a means of
gaining experience and skills within an industrialized society that offered jobs that were
different from the usual ones in domestic service, wage inequality between men and
women in Germany remained a fact. A simple comparison of men’s and women’s
hourly gross wages clearly reflects this situation. Sixteen percent of the men earned
less than 4 DM an hour, while 15 % of the women earned less than 3 DM an hour. The
average gross hourly wage of 56% of the men was between 4 and 5 DM an hour, and
that of the women was between 3 and 4 DM. These wage differences were also

  SARASUA, Carmen GALVEZ, Lina (2003) ¿ Privilegios o eficiencia? Mujeres y hombres en los mercados de trabajo, Alicante,
Publicaciones de la Universidad de Alicante, pp. 9-36

reflected in the occupational sectors themselves, such that the gross wages of men
and women employed in the manufacturing industry were also different. Available wage
information shows that emigrant women shared this disadvantage with the German
female workers themselves.
                              Wage differences among foreign workers employed
                              in the same occupational sectors in Germany. 1969

                                                             from 4 to 5 from 5 to 6     6 DM and   without
            MEN                       under 4 DM                 DM         DM             more      data
          industry                         24%                   54%          14%          2%         6%

                                                             from 3 to 4   from 4 to 5   5 DM and   Without
         WOMEN                       under 3 DM                  DM            DM          more      data
         industry                         19%                    61%          14%          2%         4%

Fuente: Erbegnisse der Repräsentativ- Untersuchung vom Herbst 1968 über die Beschäftigung ausländischer
Arbeitnehmer und ihre Familien- und Wohnverhältnisse, p. 82

Beyond the official statistics, some informal worker emigration took place outside legal
hiring processes, and this was especially the case with the women. These women were
employed as cleaners or babysitters and were not picked up by the statistics, although
their earnings on occasion represented a significant part of the family income. Engracia
Muñoz, native to Hornos de Segura (Jaén) worked in Fulda (Hessen) within this
“underground economy”, and her contribution to family income with 10-hour working
days six days a week was as much as 30-35%. Her name and income will never
appear in the statistical series and will never be counted towards any variable. The real
estate she managed to buy on her return to Valencia is however, palpable proof of her
earnings.28 Although she had wished for an industrial job, the higher demand for and
greater flexibility required from a nanny to look after a small child made this activity
more gender-specific and not one in which she would have no competitive advantage
over men. Inequality in this case was generated outside the labor market, in the context
of decision-making, services and family values, all combining to generate precarious
working conditions for one of the members of the household.                                  Engracia’s self-
identification as a worker was based on the idea of “complementing the family
economy” by supplementing the higher wages earned by her husband, whom she
always considered to be the “mainstay of the family economy”. Different collective
identities were therefore adopted by the men and women in the labor market and family

     Interview with Engracia Muñoz Castillo ( Calatayud) 2005.

care activities, as well as different ways of valuing the labor market as a life-supporting

Despite all attempts at control, one of the constant features of all emigrant workers in
Germany would be their search for better quality work and higher wages, as well as the
high degree of labor mobility they exhibited. Although the 1968 Federal Labor Ministry
study does not differentiate between countries, it is worthwhile pointing out that within
those that had established agreements with Germany, the so-called Anwerbeländer –
i.e.: Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey and Portugal - a very high percentage of the workers
had changed jobs more than once. As the study itself pointed out, this was in most
cases due to a search for higher wages and better working conditions. The percentage
of foreign workers in the automobile industry increased from 6.5% in 1961 to 25.7% in
1970, due to the flow toward higher-paid jobs.29 This was also reflected in the 1966
Caritas (Germany) survey published in 1967 for Spanish workers. Some 54% of men
and 35% of women had changed their jobs since arriving in Germany. The main
causes stated, in order of importance, were working conditions and a rejection of
activities which although they were highly paid involved hardship.30 Lower percentages
in the case of women were again more related to cultural factors than to merely
economic ones. Some gender-based differences still existed, such as the lesser labor
mobility of women, caused by their reluctance to leave family and friends or seek
individual lodging.

However, a rotational type of emigration aimed at increasing the productivity of a young
population sector – between 25 and 35 years of age – and basically orientated towards
savings not only generated horizontal mobility – between business firms, or vertical
mobility – within a single firm – but also led to worker self-exploitation with the purpose
of maximizing income and savings ability in the shortest time possible. Overtime and
the variable components of wages became the central items in these incomes. This
self-exploitation led to sometimes extreme situations such as that described in 1961 in
Rottenburg. One of the Spanish workers working there had been hospitalized. The
authorities of catholic worker assistance organizations in the area who had visited her

  Bundesanstalt für Arbeit, Erfahrungsbericht: Anwerbung und Vermittlung ausländischer Arbeitnehmer im Bundesgebiet und Ihrer
Familien- und Wohnverhältnisse, Nürnberg, 1973, p. 80. Bundesanstalt für Arbiet, Erfahrungsbericht: Anwerbung und Vermittlung
ausländischer Arbeitnehmer im Bundesgebiet und Ihrer Familien- und Wohnverhältnisse, Nürnberg, 1966, p. 30.
  ADCV. 380.22.708 Sozialdienst für Spanier.Deutscher Caritasverband. Asistencia Social para españoles. Encuesta realizada en de
octubre de 1965 a marzo de 1966. Publicadas en 1967.

indicated that her condition was caused by exhaustion from overwork, excessive
overtime and lack of proper nourishment.31

When a similar question was asked in a survey conducted in 1967 with 491 emigrants,
answers were very eloquent. Sixty two percent of the men and half of the workers of
both sexes surveyed were doing overtime, and between 22 and 26% wanted to have
the opportunity of doing it. Piecework appeared to be less frequent among the men
(34%) but showed a high percentage among the women. Fifty one percent of women
surveyed said that they were employed in piecework.32 In addition to the dismissals
and instability caused by the 1966/67 crisis, the facts of not being able to do overtime
and of having reached their “target level of savings” were the two central underlined
reasons explaining the emigrants’ decision to return home.33
Another notable aspect of the 1966 Labor Ministry report on foreign workers was the
frequency of labor accidents. This report showed that the figure for foreign workers
doubled that for German ones. This accident-proneness was affected by a number of
items. On one hand, the “apprentice’s” or “newcomer’s” ignorance of the hazards
involved in the work, and the minimal industrial experience of a mostly farming
population and, on the other, the inability to speak the language. Lack of proper
nourishment and proper rest were also mentioned as contributing factors. There is also
another statistical difference appearing in the report, namely that foreign workers in the
“white collar jobs” (a low percentage) had a lower job accident rate. 34
The “part of life” including leisure time or resting time was either reduced or relegated
to the moment of return to Spain. Germany had become a place to work in, not to live
in. This was simply a checking account strategy - 85% of the men and 81% of the
women said they were able to save in Germany – as well as having a project for
investing in their future. For most of the men and women concerned, this project
involved buying a house and “going back”. The overall appraisal of this situation by the
social actors was uniform across genders. Eighty one percent of men and 87% of
women declared it had been worthwhile going to work in Germany. Most of them
considered emigration to have been a profitable strategy (80% of both women and
men) for both them and Spain.                         Most were clear in the sense that it had merely

  ADCV 380.22.172. Fasz. 2. Sozialdienst für Spanier. Mädchenschutz.Carta de la Katholische Mädchenschutz in der diözese
Rottenburg a A Frau Gerhardy 8.5.1961
  ADCV. 380.22.708 Sozialdienst für Spanier.Deutscher Caritasverband. Asistencia Social para españoles. Encuesta realizada en de
octubre de 1965 a marzo de 1966. Publicadas en 1967.
     Bericht. Beschäftigung ausländischer Arbeitnehmer in der Bundesrepublik. 1966.
     Bericht. Beschäftigung ausländischer Arbeitnehmer in der Bundesrepublik. 1966.

occupied a certain time in their lives and that they wanted to return (84% of men and
87% of women). 35

5.        Education, language and the emigration labor market

The emigrants arrived either legally or illegally and found themselves in the midst of a
labor market they were entering under a disadvantage that conditioned their scope of
action. One of the problems encountered in Germany by Spanish workers was their
lack of pre-departure labor training. The bulk of the emigrants surveyed in 1967
claimed only preparatory school education. There was a high percentage among both
men (61%) and women (72%) lacking a professional degree. For most of them,
preparatory education and farming or domestic service work were their most common
working qualifications.

This starting point meant joining a labor market that rewarded qualification under worse
conditions than, for example, the Yugoslavs. When in the early sixties a report was
prepared on the Spanish recruitment process, it underlined that the Labor Ministry
authorities in Spain rejected hiring applications from qualified Spanish metalworkers for
reasons related to the Spanish labor market, where such skills were rare.36 An attempt
had been made to retain qualified workers in Spain.

Nevertheless, the new emigrants were far from being passive and easy to
accommodate. The mobility of Spanish emigrant workers was not only reflected in their
job changes, but also in the internal dynamics of the firm. The same 1968 study
showed that 31% of the workers from countries which had established agreements
beforehand had been promoted to better jobs. Most of them had been promoted from
unskilled to semi-qualified worker status, but only a minimal percentage (around 3%)
had been upgraded to qualified worker status. Among women, this percentage was
lower, with 19% receiving promotion within the firm, but none to qualified worker status.
The 1967 survey showed similar data for Spanish emigrants. Thirty percent of the men
and 15% of the women were employed in semi-skilled occupations.                                            Emigrant labor

  ADCV. 380.22.708 Sozialdienst für Spanier.Deutscher Caritasverband. Asistencia Social para españoles. Encuesta realizada en de
octuibre de 1965 a marzo de 1966. Publicadas en 1967.
  BUNDESARCHIV KOBLENZ: B/119/ 3065. Anwerbung und Vermittlung spanischer Arbeitskräfte. 1961-1963 Das Anbwerbe-
und Vermittlungsverfahren in Spanien von Voi Mollenkott (Bericht sin fecha 1962 ?)
  ADCV. 380.22.708 Sozialdienst für Spanier.Deutscher Caritasverband. Asistencia Social para españoles. Encuesta realizada en de
octubre de 1965 a marzo de 1966. Publicadas en 1967.

markets are heterogeneous and difficult to control. In the case of Germany, both men
and women had joined the labor market with differences in regard to their status within
each firm.38

The mobility induced by professional qualification was present here to a much lower
extent and, in addition, more of the women were employed at the unskilled levels.
Cross-country differences were minimal. Sixty three percent of Italian women, 60% of
the Greeks and 59% of the Spaniards were industrial laborers. If we make the
exception of some administration employees and some women chemists employed
thanks to connections between Merck laboratories and Barcelona chemical firms, this
was the most common job description for the foreign female workers in Merck between
1966 and 1968.39
                     Distribution of foreign female workers by post held in the firm
                                                      Women 1968




                         40                                                         Non qualified
                         30                                                         Semi qualified w orker


                               Italy   Greece     Spain    Turkey Portugal

               Fuente: Erbegnisse der Repräsentativ- Untersuchung vom Herbst 1968 über die
               Beschäftigung ausländischer Arbeitnehmer und ihre Familien- und Wohnverhältnisse

In the above mentioned labor integration and promotion process, knowledge of the
German language played a major role. With emigration oriented towards short-term
savings and a search for wage supplementation through overtime, it is not surprising
that Spanish emigrants to Germany showed in the 1969 Federal Labor Ministry survey
a high percentage of rudimentary or zero knowledge of the language. These
percentages were even higher in the case of women workers. Only 12% claimed to

  BUNDESARCHIV KOBLENZ: B/119/ 4146 Anwerbung und Vermittlung ausländischer Arbeitnehmer 1967-1975. Niederschrift
die Dienstbesprechung mit den Vermittlungsleitern der Auslandsdienststellen in der Verwaltungsschule Aalen vom 12.-13. Juli
     FIRMENARCHIV MERCK. Personal und Sozialwesen. J 10 - 598. Belegschaftsstatistik. 1966-1968. Sozialbericht 1966

speak German fluently, while 67% could speak a little and 21% could speak no
German at all. In 1968, in the Land of Hessen Placement Office, it was noted that
businessmen particularly sought out Yugoslav workers in preference to those of other
nationalities. The combined reason was a better knowledge of the language and better
professional qualifications. 40

                                         German language knowledge
                                                       Women 1968

                %                                                                           Fluently
                    30                                                                      a litle
                    20                                                                      do not speak German
                          Italy    Greece      Spain     Turkey Portugal

             Fuente: Erbegnisse der Repräsentativ- Untersuchung vom Herbst 1968 über die
             Beschäftigung ausländischer Arbeitnehmer und ihre Familien- und Wohnverhältnisse

A large part of Spain’s population had not had the chance of obtaining professional
education of any kind41. Besides, the workers not belonging to the ECM were
discriminated in German worker training legislation, and finally, professional training for
foreign workers with little knowledge of the language was more expensive for
employers. Nevertheless, these were not the only causes of low qualification. One of
the members of the Federal German Businessmen’s Association in Cologne, Rolf
Weber, indicated: “The Spaniard coming to Germany does not have the primary
purpose of seeking specialization in his field, instead he is trying to earn as much
money as possible. Obviously these two objectives – self-training and earning as much
money as possible – are mutually incompatible as parallel activities.“42 The objective of
emigration was, to a great extent, not qualification, but rather short-term savings and
investment on return to Spain. Thus, the long working days were hardly compatible

40 BUNDESARCHIV KOBLENZ: B/119/ 3018 Landesarbeitsamt Hessen. Erfahrungsbericht. Beschäftigung und Vermittlung
ausländischer Arbeitnehmer. 1968
41 ADCV 380.22.048 Sozialdienst für Spanier. Reisen Studienfahrten 1961-1967 Bericht über die Situation der Arbeitsaufnahme
spanischer Staatsangehöriger in der Bundesrpublik zum Zeitpunkt der Studienreise. 1966
  WEBER, Rolf (1966) « Cinco años de emigración española a Alemania » en DEUTSCHER CARITASVERBAND E .V (1966)
Acta del quinto cursillo añual para los asistentes sociales en cargados de la asistencia a los trabajadores en la República Federal
de Alemania, Freiburg im Breisgau, Seminar für Wohlfahrtspflege, Karlstrasse34 del 22 al 26 de febero de 1966, pp. 33- 44. Aquí p.

with ongoing professional training and in-depth learning of the language, and the
Spanish emigrants were largely inserted within a vicious circle of progressive de-
qualification. For similar reasons, self-employment or investment in a German firm
formed no part of the objectives or interests of these migratory sectors. In the early 70s
when flexible mass specialization and qualification were the items most sought after,
these workers were qualified for a type of mass employment that was in progressively
decreasing demand within the German workforce.43 A large part of the men and women
concerned returned to their country after having completed what has come to be known
as the “net assets lifecycle” 44 of the Spanish emigrants to Germany.

43 Bericht. Beschäftigung ausländischer Arbeitnehmer in der Bundesrepublik. 1970. “Obwohl insbesondere grössere Betribe
vereinzelt ausländischen Arbeitnehmer als Vorarbeiter einsetzen, muss festgestellt erden dass, im allegemeinen die ausländischen
Arbietnehmer wenig neigung und Initiative für eine berufliche Weiterbildung aufbringen.”
   ARRONDEL, Luc GRANGE, Cyril “ Le cycle de vie patrimonial de Pierre Trambert. Essai d'analyse économique des pratiques
d'accumulation d'un cultivateur de Loire-Inférieure à la fin du XIXe siècle ”, dans Dominique BARJOT et Olivier FARON [dir.],
Migrations, cycle familial et marché du travail, Cahiers des Annales de démographie historique, n° 3, Paris, Société de démographie
historique, 2002, pp. 255-286.


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