From labour migration to labour mobility? The return of the multinational worker in Europe

Rutvica Andrijasevic, Devi Sacchetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
881 Downloads (Pure)


There is currently a large knowledge gap about intra-European labour migration. Existing scholarship focuses overwhelmingly on the movement of workers from East to West Europe. Commentators are caught up in a debate over whether such movement is best understood in terms of social dumping and hence a race to the bottom, or in terms of business opportunities and benefits for firms, states and migrants. The argument put forward in this article is that both approaches are inadequate in that they focus attention on a linear East-to-West movement and discuss this movement from the vantage point of the state, businesses and trade unions in the country of destination. It is our suggestion that such readings of intra-European labour migration fail to grasp the changes in labour force behaviour engendered by freedom of movement and European Union citizenship. In order to gain a clearer understanding of emerging migration patterns in the enlarged Europe, this article adopts mobility as the analytical lens though which to examine the integration of labour markets as well as the tensions between capital, trade unions and labour to which mobility gives rise. Building on fieldwork and interviews with migrant workers conducted at Foxconn electronics assembly plants in the Czech Republic, the article illustrates processes of both segregation and mobilisation produced by intra-European labour mobility, and suggests that the term ‘multinational’ worker is best suited to convey the experiences and practices of this emergent workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-231
Number of pages13
JournalTransfer: European Review of Labour and Research
Issue number2
Early online date7 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

Structured keywords

  • Gender Research Group
  • Global Political Economy
  • Perspectives on Work
  • Migration Mobilities Bristol
  • MGMT Work Organisation and Public Policy
  • MGMT theme Global Political Economy


  • Labour migration
  • intra-EU mobility
  • social dumping
  • Czech Republic
  • Foxconn


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