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London’s Migrant Division of Labour Jane Wills Research team: Yara Evans, Kavita Datta, Joanna Herbert, Cathy McIlwaine and Jon May Data consultant: Yiannis.

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Presentation on theme: "London’s Migrant Division of Labour Jane Wills Research team: Yara Evans, Kavita Datta, Joanna Herbert, Cathy McIlwaine and Jon May Data consultant: Yiannis."— Presentation transcript:

1 London’s Migrant Division of Labour Jane Wills Research team: Yara Evans, Kavita Datta, Joanna Herbert, Cathy McIlwaine and Jon May Data consultant: Yiannis Kaplanis (LSE) Department of Geography and The City Centre Queen Mary, University of London

2 Aims of the paper Go back to key theory/concepts Immigration in the UK Introduce London’s migrant division of labour (MDL) Big data sets Our survey and interviews A case study at Canary Wharf Conclusions

3 Go back to key theory/concepts Post-war Europe: employer demand; ‘bottom end’ jobs; ‘reserve armies of labour’ (Castles and Kosack, 1973; Miles, 1982) “The jobs tend to be unskilled, generally but not always low paying, and to carry or connote inferior social status; they often involve hard or unpleasant working conditions and considerable insecurity; they seldom offer chances for advancement toward better-paying, more attractive job opportunities; they are usually performed in an unstructured work environment and involve an informal, highly personalistic relationship between a supervisor and subordinate.” (Piore, 1979, 17)

4 Fortress European states of the 1970s: focus on ‘race’ and ethnic divisions of labour (EDL); multiculturalism (Daniel, 1968; Modood et al., 1997) Different in the US: Waldinger and Lichter, 2003 Highlight the importance of employer demand: ‘Dual frame of reference’ The Hiring queue Moral economies of employment The important role of the state

5 Dual frame of reference “The foreign-born comprise the preferred labor force, but not because employers have suddenly developed a soft spot for immigrants, immigration or the broader cultural or social changes wrought by large-scale immigration. Rather employers perceive the newcomers as workers who assess the situation relative to the conditions and options encountered ‘back home’ … the immigrants’ dual frame of reference puts America’s low-wage sector in a remarkably favourable perspective.” (Waldinger and Lichter, 2003, 179) Locals too entitled …

6 Moral economies of employment Difference: Employers will face “difficulty in recruiting someone whose personal status – for reasons of nativity, ethnicity, gender, age, or the like – does not fit with the job’s, and who may therefore feel entitled to something better.” Waldinger and Lichter (2003, 40) And deserving: Easier to employ ‘deserving’ workers with origins in poorer parts of the world (Anderson, 2007)

7 The hiring queue A “relatively stable cross-national hierarchy of discrimination” Model (2002, 132) : foreign-born whites; African Indians and Chinese fare as well as native-born whites (especially men); Africans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis at the bottom … with African-American men at the bottom in the US

8 And the important role of the state Labour supplies dependent upon immigration policy And, education/welfare/employment regulation shaping push-pull into work Need labour supply but ‘sticky’ commodity and politically sensitive Liberal state has problems securing the migration state (Hollifield, 2004)

9 Immigration in the UK Changing immigration regime in the UK EU accession and new labour supply from 2004 ‘Managed migration’ and the new hierarchy – the points based system 2005 Control, surveillance and irregular migrants Ignoring the legacy of the last 20 years? Changing MDLs: from ‘black’ to ‘white’?

10 The migrant division of labour Labour segmentation: ethnicity, gender … and we argue immigration status and circumstances Can ‘trump’ – and reconfigure existing segmentation: skilled workers in low-skilled work; men in women’s jobs; ‘white’ workers in ‘black’ employment sectors Evidence from London: large data sets; our surveys; one case study workplace

11 Large data sets In 1986, 18% of Londoners were born overseas (approximately 1.17 million people), and three- quarters of them came from the former colonies. By 2006, as many as 31% of London’s population (2.23 million people) were immigrants, with just over half of them having their origins in the Commonwealth (LSE, 2007). GLA (Spence 2005) 35% working age population but 46% elemental jobs foreign born (FB)

12 60% hospitality jobs FB 44% of migrants from poor countries are still in the bottom 40% of the labour market after three years within the UK (LSE, 2007) Growth in ‘bottom end’ jobs (Goos and Manning; Kaplanis), alongside increasing proportion of FB staff New analysis of LFS shows increase in FB over time in low paid occupations

13 Our surveys July 2005: London Citizens survey 341 workers in cleaning (office and tube), dom. care, hospitality and food processing Randomly approached: 90% FB (95% tube to 56% care) Superdiversity (Vertovec, 2007): 56 countries of origin 49% tertiary level quals; 20% studying Only 2% above LLW; min working conditions

14 Employers’ bodies Increasing dependence on migrants in care, construction, cleaning and hospitality Work ethic valued but concerns about productivity … and no-one mentions the pay! Evidence of a hiring queue

15 The MDL “I think the domiciliary care sector would deliver a lot less service than it does if it were not for that proportion of migrant workers … Particularly in London, I would say that migrant workers are essential to even maintain the same level of service.” Care sector respondent, 5.12.07 “I’m certainly hearing that people are bringing candidates or having candidates brought in by overseas recruitment agencies and are thinking about going overseas specifically to find people.” Care sector respondent, 5.12.07

16 “I would say they are very hard workers. they are not lazy at all … whatever you ask them to do, they will be really happy to do it … We hardly have any problems where we have to discipline staff for constantly coming in late or reporting sick or things like that.” Food processing respondent, 18.12.06 “The major reason we use immigrant workers is because they are better than the people who are available locally.” Construction sector respondent, 11.7.07

17 Work ethic and …. Well I think the advantages are that there is a skills and labour shortage in the industry and that by and large, migrant labour has a reputation for commitment, hard work and skill. The disadvantage clearly is a language- understanding issue. What people probably don’t put up in lights is a question of whether they pay lower rates … people do their own deals. So I think if you take that cultural situation and overlay it with the migrant worker then I think inevitably, in doing their own deal, they’re going to be disadvantaged. They’re prepared to take the compromise, and I think in that sort of context, although it’s not up in lights, I can’t give you any figures, the gut feeling is that yes, they are paid less.” Construction industry respondent, 17.11.06 Lower pay for cleaning in central London than around the M25 (local labour markets)

18 Evidence of the hiring queue Concerns about language, H&S, record keeping, communication and some groups favoured over others. “I’d die for a Portuguese. You hang on to them, you ask for their sisters, their mothers, their brothers, marvellous! Filipinos fantastic, Poles very good …” Cleaning sector respondent, 3.5.06

19 At the workplace too … One cleaning contract in one building at Canary Wharf Overview of workforce data Face-to-face interviews with 54 of 105 staff 22 day and 32 night staff evenly balanced by gender 4 managers Sept/November 2006

20 A workplace and the world £6.20/hour and 30p/hour attendance bonus after 2 weeks (NMW £5.35; LLW £7.05) 20 days annual holiday plus 8 bank holidays no company sick pay or pension building opened in 1990s 5 cleaning contractors since opening

21 Superdiversity at work: 105 anonymised company records (3 missing)


23 80% staff born outside the UK from 28 other countries Significant numbers from Africa, western Europe and Latin America with growing significance of eastern Europeans Foreign-born younger than the British-born Complexity of nationality overlaid by complexity of citizenship and immigration status Superdiversity at work

24 Citizenship and immigration status 7 of 8 of those who arrived before 1990 were British citizens None of those who arrived since 2000 were British citizens Majority of those interviewed (33 from 41 or 80%) arrived since 1991 with mixed routes to living and working in the UK European by birth or citizenship; ILR (refugees); others

25 Low paid labour supply African and Latin American workers arrived as students, tourists and asylum seekers during the 1980s and 1990s Arriving through the interstices of the immigration system or via the rest of the EU And regularised through refugee status, marriage and childbirth No longer needed in the context of alternative labour supplies from the A8?

26 The dual frame of reference “Most of these girls are just here to earn a living, go home, feed their children and send money back home and feed the other part of the family, you know, the uncles, the aunts, the cousins. I mean widespread family, not like ours at all.” (manager, Canary Wharf contract, 4.12.06)

27 Locals too entitled “Let’s look at it this way. The English are used to a social security system anyway, they’re used to having that whereas the immigrants don’t have that in their country. We’ve always had something to fall back on so those English that are not educated, that, you know, didn’t go out and get themselves great jobs could come out and do cleaning but they won’t do it for a lower wage because they might as well sit indoors and get paid to look after the kids … to motivate them you’d need ten pounds an hour, definitely.” (manager, Canary Wharf contract, 4.12.06)

28 Changes in the hiring queue... “The good thing about the east Europeans they’re all very briefed on what they’ve got to bring with them, all the correct paperwork, they’re on the ball. We still have problems with Africans, Nigerians, Jamaicans coming over and they haven’t got their paperwork.” “We’re thankful for having … the Eastern Europeans are the up and coming, you know, they’re the people that everybody wants because they’re hardworking.” “A lot of the black Africans are lazy … let’s put it this way, they’re very difficult to motivate … they come to work tired, that makes them look lazy.. Compared to the east Europeans that come in bussing. They come in buzzing.” (manager, Canary Wharf contract, interview, 28.9.06).

29 Conclusions Clear London has a MDL at ‘bottom end’ of labour market Explained by employer demand, dual frame, moral economy, hiring queue and state policy Clear ‘rotating membership’ (Castles and Kosack, 1973) of this tier of the workforce as new immigrants replace older ones – demand constant/growing – with different supply Changing MDL with changing immigration regime: from ‘black’ to ‘white’ or not?

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