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Humanities Colloquium - Stefan Rother (Political Science): Transnational organizing for migrant workers: Social movement unionism in Southeast Asia

When Jun 15, 2015
from 01:00 PM to 02:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, ground floor, large room
Contact Name
Contact Phone 0761 203 97362
Attendees universitätsoffen / open to university members
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Trade unionism remains weak in most Southeast Asian countries: It is characterized by high fragmentation, regulated by restrictive labour policies and in some cases discredited by clientelist connections to the political elite. It has only rarely included migrant workers employed in so-called low-skilled jobs which constitute a transnationally marginalized group that is particularly difficult to organize. But there is an increasing number of cases where migrant workers organizations and trade unions have joint forces through the approach of social movement unionism. This concept which connects labour advocacy with wider political struggles began to gain particular prominence in developing countries in the 1980s and 90s. Its expansion beyond the “container model” of the nation state to include transnational migrants is a more recent phenomenon that this talk will discuss based on three case studies: Cambodian migrant workers in Malaysia, Indonesian and Philippine fishermen in Taiwan and migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.