European Work and Employment Research Centre

Social inclusion, migration and unions


This research outlines EU comparative approaches into migrant workers in the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, and how the question of social exclusion encourages a variety of trade union responses and alliances. The project aims to identify and analyse common models of social inclusion, co-ordinated European approaches, and new forms of flexible regulation that supports migrants. It also aims to review the relationship between such bodies and new actors within migrant communities: and how these shape the politics and pattern of social inclusion strategies. The United Kingdom has one of the most de-regulated employment systems and relies heavily on equal opportunities legislation and social initiatives such as learning and training. On the other hand, the Netherlands is highly regulated in terms of worker rights in such areas as representation and health and safety. Spain is a country that has only recently seen extensive immigration unlike the former two where immigration has a longer history. It has a strong body of worker regulations but a weaker tradition of consistent regulation. So all three countries provide different contexts for analysing how unions respond to these issues and to migrant community groups. All three countries are subject to EU interventions and are committed to greater investment in co-ordinating and benchmarking best practice in the area. In turn, the project reviews how such bodies have interacted with each other through EU  level organisations such as the European Trade Union Congress. 

The Project has a series of advisors: Jorge Aragon (CCOO), Mustapha Laboui (FNV), Dirk Kloosterboer (FNV-Bondgenoten), Steve Craig (UCATT), Deborah Littman (UNISON), amongst others.


Prof. Miguel Martinez Lucio - Director and Principal Researcher, University of Manchester
Dr. Stefania Marino - Research Associate, University of Manchester
Dr. Heather Connolly - University of Warwick

National reports


UK report-Leverhulme project

Spain report- Leverhulme project

The Netherlands-Leverhulme project

Conference presentations

ESRC Seminar Series, 2 September 2010 

ILO, 6-8 July 2011

BUIRA, 7-9 July, 2011

EDI, 23-26 July, 2012

Conferencia en la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 22 November 2011


The European Work and Employment Research Centre was established in 1994 to build upon and develop expertise in comparative and inter-disciplinary research in the area of work and employment.

Contact us

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    Alliance Manchester Business School
    Booth Street West
    M15 6PB, UK

  • Phone: +44 (0) 161 306 1320