Jane Will, Kavita Datta, Yarra Evans, Joanna Herbert, Jon May, and Cathy McIlwaine, Global Cities at Work: New Migrant Divisions of Labour.Jane Will, Kavita Datta, Yarra Evans, Joanna Herbert, Jon May, and Cathy McIlwaine, Global Cities at Work: New Migrant Divisions of Labour (New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Pluto Press Pluto Press is a progressive, independent publisher based in London. It was founded in 1969 by Richard Kuper and others as an arm of International Socialism, the forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party in the UK. 2010)
BY FOCUSING THE LENS on the capital city of London, U.K., and its world of paid work, authors of this book are able to present a close-up picture of the lives of migrant ('foreign-born') workers within the city's labour market. In fully understanding the picture, the authors connect local and national realities to transnational trajectories within which they operate. The latter is what characterizes London as a "global" city.
The book presents a complex and comprehensive analysis in that it begins with political economy discussions (Chapters One and Two), yet it is very accessible, including some of the most lucid descriptions of a neoliberal ne·o·lib·er·al·ism
A political movement beginning in the 1960s that blends traditional liberal concerns for social justice with an emphasis on economic growth.
ne system that I have seen, as well as a thorough engagement with relevant theoretical literature. The density of this discussion is balanced in the middle sections (Chapters Three through Six) with narratives of life, relationships and survival from low-waged, precarious workers themselves. The latter include migrants from within the European Union (EU) as well as beyond it; asylum-seekers, whom we might refer to as refugees or refugee claimants; students with limited work visas; visitors with work permits; and a whole range of irregular migrants or undocumented workers. The complexity and comprehensiveness of the information in the chapters comes alive through the experiences of workers drawn from 429 conversations including longer encounters with over 100 workers. Chapter Seven focuses on finding a voice and collective organisation among these migrant workers which are different from their predecessors of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Finally, Chapter Eight reflects on the role of the trade union movement in the UK. These historical and contemporary realities are framed within the machinations of the British state with particular reference to its migration, immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. , citizenship, labour and social wage policies as well as that of supra-state institutions, such as that of the EU. Apart from being informative, I found the chapters to be extremely helpful in making sense of what may be happening in other global cities, such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
The main argument of the authors is that global cities like London now have a 'migrant' division of labour, thus adding to the racial, gender and ethnic division of labour characterizing the labour force before the 1980s, which included 'new Commonwealth' immigrants from independent nations of Africa and Asia who took up the least desirable jobs in healthcare, transportation, factories and mills; however they had citizenship rights. In contrast to that, by 2006, about 35 per cent of London's working age population were born overseas, many of whom are not eligible for citizenship status, some being of irregular status. By 2001, it is estimated that there were about half a million "irregular" migrants (undocumented) in London alone. This is largely a result of U.K's 5-tiered immigration policy An immigration policy is any policy of a state that affects the transit of persons across its borders, but especially those that intend to work and to remain in the country. which has encouraged highly skilled and professionalized immigrants and deterred less skilled immigrants. This is not unlike other immigrant-receiving countries, such as Canada and Australia. Among unskilled workers, the state (and employers) have a clear preference for EU workers who happen to be white and who have the legal right to work in any European country. The least preferred are those who are beyond the EU and those who are undocumented, who are by and large people of colour. Details of this system are clearly presented in the book.
Changes made by New Labour government in April 2000 have made foreign students, tourists, work permit-holders, asylum-seekers and of course undocumented workers ineligible to a whole gamut of rights that cover those who hold citizenship status. These include labour rights, access to welfare benefits and rights to family re-union. Moreover, low-paid, what we would call precarious workers, in London are "super-diverse," in the authors' words, in that they include those from the A8 countries of Eastern Europe Eastern Europe
The countries of eastern Europe, especially those that were allied with the USSR in the Warsaw Pact, which was established in 1955 and dissolved in 1991. that joined the original EU15 in 2004; Bulgaria and Romania that joined them in 2007; asylum-seekers and irregular workers from sub-Saharan African countries, Asia and South America South America, fourth largest continent (1991 est. pop. 299,150,000), c.6,880,000 sq mi (17,819,000 sq km), the southern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. , concentrated in the lower end of the labour market. In contrast, those from the original EU15, Japan, Korea, the old Commonwealth countries and the US are doing well in skilled, professional and highly paid jobs, partly because the immigration system draws from the upper classes of these countries. The other key feature of this labour market is the unemployment and welfare-dependent British citizens who are the traditional working class, displaced due to restructuring and neoliberal policies of British employers and the state. Most of them have opted to rely on welfare payments rather than on low-income jobs that keep them hovering around the poverty line. This 'native' group includes members of earlier immigrants who have settled and become citizens, including ones from newly independent countries in Asia and Africa. The ones who are in the labour force are those who have no recourse to welfare or other state-sponsored programs, that is non-citizens. This is the basis of the authors' argument for a "new migrant division of labour."
The book also points to innovative forms of organizing of this new working class, many of whom are in temporary and precarious job situations which challenge traditional trade union strategies. This book is valuable for comparative studies of the labour market and organizing strategies in global cities. In this sense, the book could be useful not only for academics but also for activists. An interesting issue raised is the strategic importance of faith-based organizing.
The only sticking point sticking point
A point, issue, or situation that causes or is likely to cause an impasse.
Noun 1. sticking point - a point at which an impasse arises in progress toward an agreement or a goal I have with the authors is the characterization of a migrant division of labour which is supposedly new. There is an implication that there was no migrant-citizen dynamic in the pre-1980s period and that what we have today is something categorically novel. It is implied that in earlier decades, immigrants and asylum seekers became British citizens, therefore the politics of being migrant or citizen was not significant. This is debatable de·bat·a·ble
1. Being such that formal argument or discussion is possible.
2. Open to dispute; questionable.
3. In dispute, as land or territory claimed by more than one country. . Citizenship does not only consist of a legal document. It involves inclusion of 'outsiders' into a (white) nation and is a highly contentious process. Despite having citizenship on paper, were earlier immigrants accepted as Britishers? Part of the racism they faced was that Blacks, which included Asians in those years, were never considered as part of the 'Union Jack.'
As against that, today's non-white precarious workers are not only racialized socially but also legally by being denied British citizenship. EU workers who are part of the migrant working class hold a 'European' (white) identity and are preferred by employers over their nonwhite non·white
A person who is not white.
nonwhite adj. counterparts. Employer preference of white workers over non-white workers continues. Old and new forms of exclusions could be analyzed in a more nuanced manner.
No doubt, the class divisions in migrant and immigrant communities have become more significant, which have inevitably changed the forms of racism experienced by them and their identification as 'British,' 'Black,' 'Indian' or 'Bangladeshi.' There are highly skilled, middle class immigrants who are eligible for citizenship rights unlike their unskilled working class counterparts. The issues of class divisions among migrant/immigrant communities and its impact on anti-racism organizing could be further explored.
Overall, I recommend this book highly for activists and researchers, and for undergraduate and graduate courses.
York University York University, at North York, Ont., Canada; nondenominational; coeducational; founded 1959 as an affiliate of the Univ. of Toronto, became independent 1965.