These three policy papers were written by Bloomer, S, Hamilton, J* and Hughes, C. at Ulster University in partnership with the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), and the Community Intercultural Programme through the PEACE-IV funded project – Crossing Borders Breaking Boundaries
This research paper analyses data produced from the working experiences of 28 migrant workers within the mushroom industry, in the border areas of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It suggests that in order to meet the demands of local labour markets, employment for workers in the mushroom sector is uncertain, unpredictable and unstable. The research provides evidence that, for migrant workers, poor employment practices experience are the norm. In the mushroom industry labour market integration is skewed in favour of employers. Worker experiences reflect the subtlety of forms of coercion and exploitation. Without effective mechanisms for challenging unequal power relationships in the workplace, migrant workforces will continue to be under-valued, defined by precarity and transience.
In March 2019 the UK Home Office introduced the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), designed to register European Union (EU), Swiss and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens and their families who wish to remain in the UK after ‘Brexit’. This research suggests that the online EUSS application process has been efficiently implemented and successfully navigated by applicants when supported by trained advisors. A clear focus on supporting and enabling applicants to complete the application process has been key to this success. Beyond the scope of this research, there remain concerns that the EUSS scheme has yet to engage fully with several ‘difficult to access’ categories of people, including looked after children, victims of trafficking and domestic abuse, and cross border workers.
This research paper presents research findings from participant experiences in the Crossing Borders, Breaking Boundaries (CBBB) project, in tandem with a set of reflections and recommendations from a series of interviews undertaken with CBBB staff and operational partners. The paper presents recommendations to promote greater access to workplace justice for migrant workers in both jurisdictions, highlighting required changes in the workplace; the centrality of language to justice; the value of third party support services; recommendations for improvements in workplace inspections regimes; and potential reforms to current practice in the Industrial Tribunal and Workplace Relations Commission.
Crossing Borders Breaking Boundaries is a €1.1 million project lead by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland alongside the Community Intercultural Programme (CIP), the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and Ulster University.
It is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
The views and opinions expressed in this Charter do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission or the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).