Precarious Work

Common struggle of migrants and nationals

27.Sep.04 - A proposal for a session at the london (alternative/fringe ) esf saturday 16th october 2004, 11.00 To 13.00 At the london school of economics admission free both to esf registrants and others.

Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and sans-papiers have a central thing in common with the established citizens of Europe; they are exploited workers. The purpose of this session or series of sessions would be to focus on this central aspect of our lives and to analyse how the bosses' strategies to obtain 'throwaway' cheap labour are supported by states' attempts to 'deregulate' labour markets, to pressurise unemployed people into accepting unacceptable jobs, and to fortify immigration control. By bringing together the views and experiences of migrants and others, we can develop ways forward which will unite people of different origins to be more effective in their common struggle against exploitation.

Format: 'workshop' discussions, possibly around short pre-circulated contributions from 'speakers' so they don't actually' 'speak' very much but guide discussions towards creative, productive solutions for future political work. Pre-circulation would help translation.

The increasing use of fixed term and temporary contracts, and of private employment agencies, is one way in which bosses seek cheaper labour , and attempt to undermine trade union strength. Youth, ethnic minorities, sans-papiers and foreigners on short-term work permits are amongst the worst exploited in the market for casual labour.

Speakers invited or about to be invited:

Action Chomage, France, on struggle of McDonalds workers and other precarious workers in Paris
Bristol Campaign against Casualisation on local work around exposing the role of employment agencies
CNT, Murcia, Spain, on the situation of Spanish/Moroccan casual farm workers in Andulucia
Local inter-union initiative with the Portuguese Workers Association in Chard, Somerset
A trade union speaker from East Anglia on gangmasters and employment agencies in the food industry

This list may be extended

Themes/links to be explored:

How to better organise agency and other casual workers; migrants and others How to put pressure on supermarkets to improve conditions of workers in enterprises which supply them with food
The role of unemployed benefit systems and the increasing pressure, in several European countries, to take any job whatever the wage ?