McDowell - PowerPoint by wanghonghx


									Global flows and local labour:
 transnational migration and
      precarious labour
             Linda McDowell
          University of Oxford
Adina Batnitzky University of Texas, Austin
and Sarah Dyer, University of Manchester
             Leaving Poland
It was a quick decision, I had a call from London
[from a Polish-owned employment agency], . . . . I
bought a one way ticket [from Warsaw] . . . it was
very cheap, but it was a bus, so 34 hours. . . . [I
arrived] Saturday morning. I had to go to sign the
contract with the agency; that was Monday, the next
day I came to work [in the hotel]. (Stanislaw, Polish
hotel worker)
                    Working in the UK
• I am on a temporary contract. I have to work when they say. Sometimes in
  the morning, sometimes in the evening. I haven’t got National Insurance
  card yet . . . This hotel, somebody tell me, is fifth hotel in profit but last in
  salary (Peter, Hungarian, temporary chef).

• I work for an agency; I have a fixed contract for a year. I clean rooms and
  the public areas, usually on the evening shift. I work when they say. It’s
  different each week. This few days, I work Monday, one day I was off, then
  I was in three days in a row, but tomorrow I am off (Vera, hotel cleaner,

• I was recruited through an agency in Boston. I decided to come here
  [London] because I wanted to travel in Europe before settling to my career
  back home. I signed a contract for one year, but my work permit and visa
  are for five so I could stay longer, I suppose. (Meg, US, occupational
  therapist, NHS).
              Structure of talk
•   Transnational migration
•   Service sector growth
•   Interactive work requires co-presence
•   Rise of precarious employment relations
•   The significance of employment agencies
•   The case study
•   Globalised workers in local employment: a
    new migrant division of labour?
                Transnational migration
•   Rising numbers: about 5.4% of labour force (1.5million people) but just over 30% in London
•   Multiple origins (2006 Poles largest single group) and multiple migration statuses
•   Superdiversity: drawing on GLA data – in 2005 migrants in London were from 179 countries, of
    which more than 10,000 from each from 42 countries; and over 5,000 from a further 12 countries.
    23 per cent of foreign-born people came to London before 1970, 32 per cent between 1970-1990
    and 45 per cent since 1990. Overall 30% of London’s migrants are from high income countries and
    70% are from developing countries.
•   Here to stay or more mobile: shift from New Commonwealth to EU. Transnationalism: migration to
    several countries; remittances, institutional links, more frequent visits; exchange of resources
    between migrants, homeland and wider diaspora.
•   Polarisation in labour market: in general less skilled and non-white migrants have lower
    employment rates (Somalis 12% for eg; Albanians 32% (are they white?) than UK born Londoners
    (average 68%), educated and white skinned higher (New Zealanders 92%, Canadians 82%). Migrants
    from Philippines are exception here (85%) (GLA 2005)
•   Gender divisions: Slovakians, Czechs, Thais, Filipinos, Slovenes more than 70% are women;
    Algerians, Albanians, Afghans, Nepalese; Yemanis more than 60% men (latter also more likely to be
    asylum seekers and former economic migrants).
•   Overall though foreign-born women (56%) have lower employment rates than men (75%)
•   Effects of the points scheme in future

NB GLA figures are pre-large scale migration from EU between May 2004- end of 2006.
          Service sector polarisation
• Several common dichotomies: producer and consumer services (former
  are input into the production process and latter where the product is
  ‘used up’ in the exchange (Daniels and Bryson 2007); hi tech and high
  touch (Brush); good and lousy jobs (Goos and Manning 2005); immaterial
  and affective labour (Hardt); self programmable and generic workers
• Co-presence, interpersonal relations; significance of embodied
  characteristics and perfomative labour (habitus: Bourdieu; emotional
  labour: Hochschild; body work: Wolkowitz; interactive work: Leidner)
• Bottom end typically constructed as feminised work even when done by
• Geographically ‘sticky’ types of jobs (caring labour in particular often 24/7
  as need/demand immediate; hard to increase efficiency so expensive to
  provide) so ‘local’ and low paid
• Rise of ‘vulnerable work’/precarious labour: significance of subcontracting
   Coincidence of precarious work and
• As feminists have long insisted jobs are not neutral slots to be filled
  but constructed to reflect the social characteristics of labour
  available/assembled and so ‘the presence of migrants and their
  vulnerability influences labour markets’ (Bauder 2007 p 4).
• In March 2007, John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered
  Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), argued:
  ‘the only extra jobs at present *in the UK economy+ are for
  temporary staff and the self-employed. This growth in “contract
  working” is almost certainly a reflection of the increased supply of
  migrant workers from Central and Eastern Europe’ (quoted by
  Seager 2007 p 32).

   Has recession made this worse? Increase in part-time and casual
   work; fall in in-migration?
           Precarious work and agency
• What is precarious work: includes agency workers, temporary and fixed
  term contracts, seasonal workers, casual workers: about 6% of all UK
  workers in Labour Force Survey
• Agency work: not employed by the end user of labour but by an
  intermediary; UK not yet signed EU Agency Directive
• How do agencies operate: may supply warm bodies or a service; not
  regulated; end-use employer evades employment rights (BMW – sacked
  850 agency workers last month with an hour’s notice); agencies select,
  employ and sack workers.
• Provide a buffer stock of workers to meet peak and troughs in demand
• Polarisation among agencies: professional staffing agencies/global reach,
  skilled workers; local agencies, warm bodies for low skilled work where
  ‘most of the transactions are local ones – connecting local job seekers to
  local employers’ (Peck et al 2005; p 23).
• Aim is to challenge this claim
        Why research on agencies?
• Employment agencies are empirically and theoretically interesting
  as they are ‘active institutional agents in the remaking of labour
  market norms and conventions, brokering as they do between
  under-employed workers on the one hand and would-be employers
  of contingent labour on the other, while turning a profit in the
  process’ (Peck and Theodore, 2001, p 474).
• Want to show that even at bottom end of labour market there is a
  new global division of labour for the most local of jobs. Networks of
  service sector workers stretching across space are a growing feature
  of the assemblages of workers who service global cities, keeping
  hotels open and hospitals clean as well as caring for the bodies of
  tourists and patients. Although consumer services by definition are
  tied to specific localities, the labour force involved in the production
  and exchange of consumer services increasingly is assembled across
  a wide spatial scale and so is an international, if not global, labour
          Hotels and hospitals
• Hotels and catering – 4th largest employer of
  migrant workers; 40% of all employees have
  non-standard contracts, usually though an
  agency, mainly bottom end
• NHS – also large employer of both migrant
  workers and contract and agency employers at
  both top and bottom end of labour force
                 Aim and methods
• Aim: to explore in detail the connections between gender and
  ethnic origins in the developing patterns of labour segmentation in
  service sector occupations in Greater London.
• Through a case study of two organisations: hotel and hospital
• Ethics approval from University and regional NHS Trust required
• Basic data provided by BI And WCH personnel sections but excluded
  contract workers in NHS and not good on ethnicity
• Non-British born workers, employed both directly and by agencies,
  in a west London hotel and hospital contacted.
• Interviews based on a semi-structured questionnaire survey
  undertaken with 60 employers in each of BI and WCH
   Bellman International (BI) and West
         Central Hospital (WCH)
• The local labour market was (and still is though less so) buoyant and skill
  shortages are an issue for both workplaces, which experience high levels
  of labour turnover in most categories of employment. According to WCH’s
  assessment of local competition in 2006:

   ‘The West London labour market is probably the most competitive within
   London, with a highly mobile workforce, relatively low levels of
   unemployment (3.6% in 2006 when we started interviewing) compared to
   4.6 for London, competition from blue chip companies located along the
   A4, Thames Valley IT companies and Heathrow Airport’.

• The locality is also characterised by a significant minority population
  (accounting for almost a third of the total population of the London
  Borough of Hounslow) in which people of Asian origin are the largest
  single minority group, many of whom have lived in the UK for several
                Research objectives
The specific objectives of the study were
• to explore how and why a migrant labour force was assembled by
  the hotel and hospital and through what methods
• to map and compare its social characteristics: demographic
  structure, class background, gender, national origins, previous work
  histories to explore development of a hierarchy of
  desirability/suitability based on the intersection of gender, ethnicity
  and nationality in interactive service jobs
• Two further aims (not discussed here) were
• to explore the variations in working conditions, pay rates etc
• to assess the extent of inter-ethnic and other conflicts between
  workers, especially between new accession state migrants and
  migrants from other part of the world.
            Comparing BI and WCH
• BI: employed in total 80 direct employees and 120 agency workers
  and both groups consisted almost entirely of migrants. Indeed, only
  three BI employees were UK-born.
• WCH: total employment more difficult to ascertain at WCH, as
  services such as catering and cleaning are contracted out to a major
  international organisation – Greenspan (a pseudonym) - that
  employs both agency workers and direct temporary contract
  workers: about 500 in total.
• The hospital itself employs almost 2000 workers of whom 30% are
  non-British born and a similar proportion (overlapping but not
  completely coincident groups) are agency or contract employees.
• So between them capture range and complexity of
  precarious/agency employment
                      The interviewees
•   120 in total: 31 current agency workers, as well as 14 others, initially employed
    through an agency but direct employees at the time of the interview.
•    22 of these 45 worked at BI; 23 at WCH.
•   Excluding professional workers (doctors, nurses at WCH and managers at BI), there
    were 20 past and present agency workers at BI and 17 at WCH in basic entry level
    jobs in both organisations, requiring no credentials and little training.
•   From 16 nation states and, with the exception of migrants from the A8 countries or
    those who have taken British citizenship (and so have the right to work), have
    been employed in the UK for between one and five years, on a range of visas
    including student, working holiday and two year working visas, as well as one
    person participating in a five year skilled workers scheme.
•   10 interviews with the owners and/or managers of seven employment agencies in
    Greater London, all of whom had been involved in recruiting the workers in our
•   Also interviews with a representative of Greenspan and a Human Resources
    employee at both BI and at WCH.
 Assembling a precarious labour force
           in diverse ways
• WCH: subcontracting of a service: uses
  Greenspan (a multi-national firm) to provide
  services (cleaning and security): Greenspan uses
  London-based agencies to recruit contract
  employees; had long-standing relaionship with
• BI: uses mix of local and international
  employment agencies to recruit warm bodies for
  specific vacancies (room attendants, waiters etc).
  Often changed agencies.
International divisions of labour: WCH
• WCH reflects ‘older’ patterns – Black workers, small
  number of new commonwealth (eg India, Sri Lanka)
  but more also from Afghanistan, Ghana, Malaysia,
  Algeria and Turkey; only one from A8 country; majority
  here to stay; lower rates of labour turnover; older and
  less well educated workers; women in catering and
  cleaning though some men too, male porters; either
  hold or aiming for British citizenship; anxious to hold
  onto what seen as a good job and to transfer into
  direct NHS labour force.
• Low paid and trapped in place (Castells) by high
  rents/house prices; high transport costs as we’ll as
  desire to stay
    Recruiting for WCH and Greenspan
•    Claire, an employee of an agency specialising in providing workers for catering and cleaning in
     hospitals told us that WCH and the sub-contractor Greenspan used to recruit, from an older, long-
     standing migrant population in the locality, predominantly British Asian women most of whom had
     come to Britain between 1968 and the mid 1970s but that:

      ‘these ladies are in their late 60s now, so they have been here quite a long time’.

     On her books now there are more recent migrants including

     ‘Chinese, Afro-Caribbean (sic), Portuguese, Polish, Irish – this is where it all starts to change, and
     now definitely with the East Europeans, that’s definitely created a big change. There are more East
     Europeans – Latvians, Lithuanians’

     but :

     ‘The level of English of East Europeans is quite low and that’s one of our biggest issues when it
     comes to recruitment. A lot of them could barely speak any English [on arrival]. What we try to do
     is to make sure that there is a basic level *before placing them+’.
• Amber, middle aged woman from Jamaica (initially
  came on a visitor’s visa to see her sister, now indefinite
  right to remain) who had previously worked for several
  agencies in different types of low paid domestic work
  including hotels told us: I love my job and I really want
  to keep it’.
• She also talked movingly of the social worth of her job
  and her efforts to provide emotional support to
  patients as she cleaned the wards: ‘I would go and
  cheer them up “hello darling, this is Amber, your nice
  beautiful friend” and you know, you’d cheer them up’.
•   Hafiz, a 40 year old Afghani man, entered the UK as an illegal/trafficked migrant:
    ‘the agent, the agent, they will transport someone, someone, someone, we come
    this country. I pay about $10,000, I sell from my mother, I have some gold in
    something to come to this country because it's not easy to come this country. . .
    We pay for the agent so they transport… because lot of countries, we're going
    from a lot of countries because I don’t know how I come’.
•   Until recently an agency employee for Greenspan. In the month before we talked
    to him, he had transferred to employment with WCH, in both capacities working as
    a ward cleaner.
•   This direct employment on a part-time basis; he also worked an evening shift in a
    garage where he earned slightly more per hour than at Greenspan. And yet he
    assured us that ‘I am happy, I am really happy yes, I’ve very happy, I like this job, I
    love this job. … this is my mission, I want this job for ever’. At the time of the
    interview, he was attempting to persuade his supervisor to find more hours for
•   ‘I want to apply for the citizenship… now I am thinking I am only from this country,
    I forget Afghanistan, I forget everything’.
International divisions of labour: BI
• BI: new pattern; East European and A8 (Estonia, Latvia,
  Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia
  and Slovenia) migrants significant (all but four); well
  educated, rapid turnover; 8 recruited in own country,
  12 in London but often by own nationality agency e.g.
  Polish and Bulgarian-owned agencies; legal status often
  problematic; here to improve English and get better
  jobs. Room attendants all women, kitchen staff almost
  all male.
• Intend to be spatially and socially mobile: space of
  flows (Castells) (although also low paid and so
  temporarily trapped in place in London)
   Educated East Europeans at BI
• ‘they (East Europeans) are actually very skilled
  back in their own countries, some of them are
  lawyers, some of them are management
  graduates and well, they don’t make that kind
  of money over there, so they come here to do
  this, and to learn the language’. (Comment by
  Indian waiter recruited abroad so also non-
• I just go to agency and then I come. I want to learn good English.

But as he says later:
• ‘You know when you are young, you want to see a lot of things so
   you come to London, basically don't want meeting with Hungarians.
   Now I don’t want meeting because six, seven people working in the
   hotel who is Hungarian now and I am speaking more times in
   Hungarian than I am in English and this is not good for me’.
• And so ‘I have got two plans, change the workplace or go to
   brasserie’. (26 year old Hungarian working in hotel kitchens)

Some of the Polish room attendants also mentioned the disadvantage
  of working with co-nationals and the head of the housekeeping
  section the problem of ‘Polish cliques’.

  26 year old Russian woman who paid a Russian agency
  to come to London - $3000. High school educated and
  wants to train as a nursery school teacher
  Asked why she came to London: ‘I would like to
  improve my English, and some money. . . I go to
  Russian agency in London. I went to the agency in
  Hammersmith and they explained. My first job is to
  pack chicken. (also found BI job through an agency).
• ‘My visa finished, so I should back. . . I am tired too and
  homesick so I return soon’.
          Local jobs/global workers
  The jobs are local in a threefold way:

• First, they are local in the sense of providing an immediate
  embodied service to a set of clients/customers/patients in west
• Secondly, they are local in the sense that the potential workers
  constitute an immediately available labour force, assembled by
  staffing agencies at minimum costs to end-user employers,
  requiring no specialist knowledge, skills or training to able to
  undertaken the required work tasks almost instantly on
• Thirdly, they are local jobs in the sense that their low pay means
  that they attract only those living in the immediate vicinity.
                      Global workers
• The potential and actual labour force is a trans-national one. New and
  more established economic migrants – some with no skills and few
  options, and others with an inadequate command of English are
  assembled by employment agencies to staff the basic services that keep
  hospitals running and hotels able to sell a service.
• The agencies that provided workers for BI and for WCH (indirectly though
  Greenspan) ranged from small, almost informal agencies to large
  multinational firms that are part of the increasing internationalisation of
  service provision. But both types of agency recruit from the growing
  international and increasingly diverse labour force, born abroad and now
  working in Greater London. Even the smallest, informal London-based
  agencies utilised a network of trans-European, and often trans-national,
  contacts to mobilise applicants.
• Thus, internationalization is not only a feature of the growth of producer
  services and their global demand for labour, but is also significant in the
  production of consumer services

To top