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Reimagineering the Nation

Essays on Twenty-First-Century Sweden

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Edited By Aleksandra Ålund, Carl-Ulrik Schierup and Anders Neergaard

This collection of essays offers a critical analysis of neoliberal transformation as it has unfolded in Sweden, long regarded as exemplary in terms of social welfare, equality and an inclusive multicultural democracy. The book presents a multidisciplinary exposition on Sweden, seen in a wider European perspective. It addresses changing frameworks of citizenship, welfare and democracy, migration and asylum, urban segregation and labour market segmentation and processes of securitization. It illuminates intersecting dimensions of class, gender and racialization and juxtaposes xenophobic populism with new social justice and antiracist movements on a changing political stage. Addressing a growing alignment with retrogressive illiberal policies across Europe, the volume exposes the reach of the adverse direction in which European «integration» is currently heading.

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12. Framing Solidarity in the Unionisation of Undocumented Migrant Workers (Nedžad Mešić)

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Nedžad Mešić

12. Framing Solidarity in the Unionisation of Undocumented Migrant Workers

Abstract: This chapter explores the capacity of two Swedish trade union initiatives, SAC Syndicalists and LO-TCO centre, to extend solidarity to undocumented migrant workers. The author asks what solidarity linkages have been established since the shift of millennia and what obstacles encountered in forging solidarity between workers with strong versus weak legal status. He illuminates the emergence of a transformative form of solidarity, which may open for protection of new groups of disadvantaged workers.

Introduction

Trade unions have, as their primary purpose, the organisation and defence of employee interests in the labour market in order to secure the best terms and conditions, available through exercising their collective bargaining strength. Traditionally, addressing the balance of power between labour and capital has been based on the calibration of conflicting interests by domestic labour market actors. The ‘age of migration’ has brought new complexities to this equation marked by the emergence of a new ‘worker’ category, among which, the undocumented migrant has been increasingly prominent. The status of undocumented migrants in the labour market is problematic and, at first glance, trade unions may have little to offer. Likewise, as collective labour representation agencies, trade unions seemingly have little to gain from the presence of undocumented migrant workers in their ranks. This raises issues for trade unions of the appropriate forms of organisational response, and not least, the reach...

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