Making Migration Work - Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het ...

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Making Migration Work - Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het ...

intra-eu labour mobility after eastern enlargement and during the crisis:main trends and controversies95circumvent the transitional measures and resulted in a loss of social contributionsand tax revenues. In both Germany and Austria – in contrast to the ukand Sweden, for example – trade unions and to some extent also employers’organisations were in favour of the transitional measures. Trade unions – atleast in Germany – were also eager to influence the migration agenda by lobbyingthe government on certain issues and laws, instituting some cross-bordercooperation (in both cases sometimes in cooperation with employers) and byinforming migrant workers about their rights. It should be noted that althoughboth Germany and Austria argued that transitional measures would allow themto gradually adapt to the free movement of labour, neither of the two countrieshas developed a general policy framework with regard to the obligatory liftingof transitional measures by 2011. 16The uk and Sweden – together with Ireland – lifted all restrictions on the freemovement of labour upon the accession of the eu8 countries. Here, the scaleof the migrant inflows played a decisive role in determining the type and extentof the actions taken by governments and the social partners. 17 In response to thesheer numbers of migrant workers – which far surpassed that initially predicted– the uk government, in close consultation with the social partners (not everydaypractice in the uk!), put a number of services for migrant workers intoplace but also strengthened the control mechanisms in order to prevent illegalemployment and exploitation of migrant workers. The national trade unionconfederations of Ireland and the United Kingdom – the Irish Congress ofTrade Unions (ictu) and the Trades Union Congress (tuc) respectively –both supported the principle of free movement of workers from the eu8Member States. They also objected to the Irish and uk governments’ decisionto restrict migrant workers’ access to certain welfare benefits. The two unionmovements have, however, differed in their stances towards Romanian andBulgarian migrant workers. While the tuc opposed the uk government’sdecision to restrict eu2 workers’ access to the uk labour market, the ictusupported the introduction of temporary transitional measures in Ireland.The union movements in both countries have adopted an inclusive and ‘rightsbased’approach to immigration and have sought equal rights and entitlementsfor migrant workers. At the same time, they have also been concerned to ensurethat migration does not lead to indigenous workers’ pay and conditions beingundermined.Trade unions in receiving countries, sometimes in close cooperation withpartner organisations in sending countries – especially in Poland – and in othercases in cooperation with employers, are actively setting up advisory services(going beyond working conditions) and training measures (primarily languagetraining) for migrant workers and thereby also trying to win migrant workersas new members. In areas of Germany and Austria bordering on eu8 countries,

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