The Domestic Regulation of Transnational Labour Markets: EU Enlargement and the Politics of Labour Migration in Switzerland and Ireland
The entry of 10 new eastern countries in the European Union on 1 May 2004 raised several debates in Europe regarding the maintenance of national wage and labour standards in the EU 15. The significant wage differentials between ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states were believed to potentially give rise to important migration flows that individual member states would not be able to control if the rules of the Single Market, and especially freedom of movement, were directly extended to the EU 10. Among ‘old’ member states, many governments were especially afraid that Eastern European workers, once they would have gained access to the Single European Market and its four freedoms, would move massively to more affluent countries and exert great pressure on wages, labour standards and welfare states (Boeri and Brücker 2000; Kvist 2004). This was believed to be possible either through independent migration or through the use of posted workers from low-wage countries (Menz 2005). The fear of the ‘Polish plumber’ raised during the ratification of the European Constitution in France in 2005 mainly revolved around this latter issue.
KeywordsLabour Market Trade Union Collective Bargaining Labour Market Regulation Labour Market Opening
The author would like to thank the editors and contributors of this volume, as well as André Mach and Yannis Papadopoulos for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter. Funding by the Swiss National for Scientific Research is gratefully acknowledged.
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