Employment of third country nationals is happening at the intersection of the immigration and employment regimes in the EU. These result in segmented labour markets and employment relations, especially manifest in newly industrialized regions. The project follows the growing practice of recruiting and employing foreign workers, especially Ukrainian and Serbian nationals but also Hungarians from “economically depressed regions,” in the Hungarian automotive plants through temporary work agencies or via temporary contracts.
Building on qualitative methodology our research actively involves trade-unions, experts and workers from Hungary, Ukraine and Serbia to enter a dialogue about the possibility to develop industrial relations at a work place that would be meaningful and accommodate the interests of many workers in an increasingly fragmented workplace. To achieve this, we cooperate with trade unions in 4 sites at all stages of our research: development of semi-structured interviews, conducting interviews at workers’ dormitories, focus groups discussions with experts and workers, interpretation of the findings.
We build our exercise on already developed methodology and data collected during fieldwork that occurred between April and July 2019: a research phase that was supported by Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Budapest Office. In the current project phase we do follow-up research, analyse data, draft practical policy recommendations, discuss findings and disseminate our findings.
The project combines theoretical and practical aims, most importantly:
to challenge the migrant vs local worker dichotomy through drawing a more nuanced picture of fragmentations at work;
to boost trade union engagement and capacity with mobile temporary workers, using the research opportunity to rekindle solidarity networks along a more a nuanced map of interests.