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Global flows and local labour: transnational migration and precarious labour. Linda McDowell University of Oxford Adina Batnitzky University of Texas, Austin and Sarah Dyer, University of Manchester. Leaving Poland.
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University of Oxford
Adina Batnitzky University of Texas, Austin and Sarah Dyer, University of Manchester
It was a quick decision, I had a call from London [from a Polish-owned employment agency], . . . . I bought a one way ticket [from Warsaw] . . . it was very cheap, but it was a bus, so 34 hours. . . . [I arrived] Saturday morning. I had to go to sign the contract with the agency; that was Monday, the next day I came to work [in the hotel]. (Stanislaw, Polish hotel worker)
NB GLA figures are pre-large scale migration from EU between May 2004- end of 2006.
‘the only extra jobs at present [in the UK economy] are for temporary staff and the self-employed. This growth in “contract working” is almost certainly a reflection of the increased supply of migrant workers from Central and Eastern Europe’ (quoted by Seager 2007 p 32).
Has recession made this worse? Increase in part-time and casual work; fall in in-migration?
‘The West London labour market is probably the most competitive within London, with a highly mobile workforce, relatively low levels of unemployment (3.6% in 2006 when we started interviewing) compared to 4.6 for London, competition from blue chip companies located along the A4, Thames Valley IT companies and Heathrow Airport’.
The specific objectives of the study were
‘these ladies are in their late 60s now, so they have been here quite a long time’.
On her books now there are more recent migrants including
‘Chinese, Afro-Caribbean (sic), Portuguese, Polish, Irish – this is where it all starts to change, and now definitely with the East Europeans, that’s definitely created a big change. There are more East Europeans – Latvians, Lithuanians’
‘The level of English of East Europeans is quite low and that’s one of our biggest issues when it comes to recruitment. A lot of them could barely speak any English [on arrival]. What we try to do is to make sure that there is a basic level [before placing them]’.
But as he says later:
Some of the Polish room attendants also mentioned the disadvantage of working with co-nationals and the head of the housekeeping section the problem of ‘Polish cliques’.
26 year old Russian woman who paid a Russian agency to come to London - $3000. High school educated and wants to train as a nursery school teacher
Asked why she came to London: ‘I would like to improve my English, and some money. . . I go to Russian agency in London. I went to the agency in Hammersmith and they explained. My first job is to pack chicken. (also found BI job through an agency).
The jobs are local in a threefold way: