From Boom to Bust: Migrant Labour and Employers in the Irish Construction Sector

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This article analyses labour migration through a case study of migrants and employers in the Irish construction sector. It seeks to locate the choices of both sides of the employment relationship in a broader socioeconomic context that takes into account the regulatory environment and the labour market situation. The authors show how both sides of the employment relationship took advantage of Ireland’s open labour market policy in 2004. As employers were keen to fill skill and labour shortages in a buoyant construction sector, migrants found employment with relative ease, often involving subcontracting arrangements and informal recruitment patterns. During the boom years the sector provided considerable opportunities for migrants at different skill levels. However, now that the sector has moved from ‘boom to bust’, the employment context has dramatically changed. In the light of large-scale job losses the bargaining position of employers has increased as migrants try to cope with deteriorating employment conditions. (The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Economic and Industrial Democracy, 32/3, August 2011 by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. © Torben Krings, Alicja Bobek, Elaine Moriarty, Justyna Salamonska and James Wickham).

Source: Economic and Industrial Democracy Volume 32, Number 3, August 2011

Author(s):Torben Krings, Alicja Bobek, Elaine Moriarty, Justyna Salamonska and James Wickham
Publisher:SAGE Journals
Publication Date:01 Aug 2011
Geographic Focus:Ireland
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