Labour Migration After the EU-Enlargement
Recent trends and dynamics on the
transnational labour market in Central Europe
Martin Kahanec & Marta Kahancová
Central European University (Budapest), Institut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA, Bonn),
and Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI, Bratislava)
Wednesday, 13th April 2011, 14.00-17.00
University of Vienna, NIG, 6th floor, room C0628A
The question of labour mobility is one of the most politicised issues linked to the last two enlargement-rounds of the EU. Obviously, there are complex and important developments going on – but what do we really know about the dynamics and effects of labour mobility in the emergent transnational labour-market in Central-Europe? Martin Kahanec and Marta Kahancová (from the Central European University and the Central European Labour Studies Institute) will present some of their findings on the processes happening on both the micro and the macro level and thus provide an opportunity to discuss political as well as methodological challenges implied by recent developments.
The seminar and discussion is co-organized by the Departement of Methods in the Social Sciences (University of Vienna), the Research Platform Migration and Integration Research (University of Vienna), and the Section „Comparative European Politics“ of the Austrian Political Science Association (ÖGPW).
PART I (14.00 – 15.20): What do we know about labour market trends after post-enlargement migration? Lessons and challenges
In the first part of the workshop, Martin Kahanec presents findings on recent trends in labour migration and its effects on receiving as well as sending countries. Based on various administrative and survey data sources he, first, gives an overview of the most important developments and challenges following EU-enlargement and the imposition of transitory agreements. Second, he discusses the methodological challenges involved for the social sciences, above all the lack of readily available and adequate quantitative data.
Coffee Break 15.20 – 15.40
PART II (15.40 – 17.00): Emigration and Labour Shortages: an Opportunity for Trade Unions in New Member States?
In the second part of the workshop, Marta Kahancová presents findings from a paper written with Monika Ewa Kaminska on the question of whether and how unions in the post-socialist EU member states have responded to the opportunity of improving their situation, offered by the increased emigration after the recent EU enlargements. Migration may influence labour force composition and unemployment rates in ways that could facilitate union organizing and bargaining position, and in consequence enhance union legitimacy and bargaining institutions. We adopt an actor-oriented framework to examine union strategies and actions, and we test the above hypotheses in the public healthcare sector largely affected by migration in Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. We argue that variation in union strategies depends mainly on the interplay of union capacities and state strategies. Slovak unions used migration-triggered labour shortages to obtain wage increases and to consolidate existing bargaining channels. In contrast, Polish unions responded to migration through industrial action. Hungarian healthcare unions were the least active in seizing migration-related opportunities to enhance legitimacy or bargaining institutions.
Martin Kahanec is assistant professor at the Department of Public Policy at the CEU (Budapest), senior research associate at IZA, Bonn, scientific director at CELSI, Bratislava, and editor of a recent international volume on labour migration and labour market dynamics after the EU-enlargement.
Marta Kahancová is managing director of the Central European Labour Studies Institute and has published, among others, on the differing work practices in multinational's subsidaries in Western and Central Europe, and the responses of trade unions in the new member states to EU-enlargement.
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