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Testing EU citizenship as "labour citizenship"from cases of labour rights violations to a strengthened labour-rights regime

Theme:

 

About the project

About, Leading partner, Partners, Coordination of experts...

Although all EU workers are entitled to the same labour rights across the entire EU region, in praxis this often does not materialize. Equal employment terms and conditions with regards to labour laws are especially unfulfilled in low-qualified and low-paid jobs, which often take the form of seasonal work, internships, domestic work or are facilitated by private work agencies. In addition, employee status often lacks the basic standards of fully-fledged employment contracts (thus creating what is commonly referred to as precarious employment).

The project brings together 12 partner organizations who collect EU and non-EU migrant workers' testimonies about serious labour rights violations in the EU. In this project, we use the testimonies as the basis for discussing the role of EU and national labour related institutions (labour inspection, labour offices, etc.) and laws (ex. public procurement directives, seasonal workers directive). The project adopts the normative position that decent wage and working conditions are necessary for enabling EU citizens’ full democratic participation, granting labour citizenship.

The objective of the project is to study EU citizens' mobility both from the perspective of economically weak regions (as a source of work migration) and from the perspective of the places of destination where migration influences labour dynamics and the broader social milieu. We emphasize the concrete experience of migrant workers and seek to translate it to broader discussions on the future of labour in Europe.

Duration of the project: January 2015 – August 2016

Leading partner of the project: Multicultural Centre Prague

Partners:
Universita Padova (Italy)
Asociata Conect (Romania)
Diversity Development Group (Lithuania)
Veřejný ochránce práv (Ombudsman) (Czechia)
Jyväskylän Yliopisto (Finland)
Solidar (Belgium)
Together-Razem (Ireland)
Forschungs- und Beratungsstelle Arbeitswelt (Austria)
Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen (Netherlands)
Polnischer Sozialrat (Germany)
Galician Foundation for Regional Development (Poland)

Project coordinator: Adriana Qubaiová, adriana.qubaiova@mkc.cz
Coordination of experts: Marek Čaněk, marek.canek@mkc.cz
Project editor: Sara Drahokoupil Vidímová sara.vidimova@mkc.cz

Information Template


The information on this web page reflects only the authors’ views. The Education, audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency and the European Commission are neither responsible nor liable for any use that may be made of the information contained on this web page.

Publications

Directives, Country reports...

Directives

Ines Wagner: Labour citizenship and enforcement gaps in a Pan-European labour market

Eva-Maria Schneider: The new EU Public Procurement Directive – a step towards better working conditions?

Country reports

Across Europe, mobile EU workers are experiencing various types of labour rights violations and exploitation which form serious obstacles to their rights as mobile EU citizens. In our project “LABCIT” we are “testing” the ability of European citizenship to be extended to work situations through a series of public hearings with workers and stakeholders across 6 countries (Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, and Romania), and supporting expert analysis form the project’s 11 partners.

Starting from the comparative analysis of some cases of severe forms of exploitation, extreme violations of labour rights, and discrimination affecting EU citizens and non-EU workers who are employed in Europe, these reports highlight which actions are most urgent to take, and what steps are necessary for strengthening existing mechanisms for the protection of workers' rights.

Czech Republic (Multicultural center Prague)

Subcontracting and EU mobile workers in the Czech Republic: Exploitation, Liability and Institutional Gaps?

Italy (University of Padova)

Exploitaion and Migrant Workers’ Struggles in the Italian Logistics and Tourism Sectors

Lithuania (Diversity Development Group)

Emigration from Lithuania: Migrant Labour Exploitation and Obstacles for Victim Identification

Germany (Polish Social Council)

Social Dumping by Subcontracting: How German Employers in Construction and Meat Processory Evade EU Labour Provisions.

Country report in GERMAN.

Country report in POLISH.

Romania (CONECT Association)

Romanian Migrants in the EU: The Struggle for Decent Work and Dignity

Ireland (Together RAZEM)

Navigating Exploitation under the ¨zero hour¨: Contracts, Wage Theft and Discrimination

Expert Analysis

Bettina Haidinger (Working Life Research Centre, Vienna, Austria)  

Liability and Co-Responsibility in Subcontracting Chains

Nathan Lillie (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

What is Labour Citizenship and Why does it Matter in the European Union?

Czech Policy Papers

5/2016 Migrant workers rights and the trade unions.
6/2016 Subcontracting and EU mobile workers in the Czech Republic. System recommendations.

Activities

Preparatory Events, Hearings I, Hearings II, Conference, Post-conference Events

Event I. - Preparatory Events

As part of the “Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship: From Cases of Labour Rights Violations to a Strengthened Labour-Rights Regime” project co-funded by the European Union under the Europe for All Citizens Programme, 5 partner countries including Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Lithuania and Germany, are holding preparatory activities with migrant workers from various economic sectors.

The central aim of the meeting is to preliminarily map the types of labour rights violations, and to find out how the workers view their EUcitizenship as it relates to labour and mobility.

Introductory text

Italy
University of Padua

Location: Padua/Rimini, Dates:15 April, 11 May, 3, 4, 5 June 2016, Number of participants: 26

As part of the “Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship: From Cases of Labour Rights Violations to a Strengthened Labour-Rights Regime” project sponsored by Europe for All Citizens Programme, the University of Padua has carried out several preparatory activities. In particular, meetings with migrants (both EU and non-EU citizens) employed in the hospitality industry of the so-called “Riviera Romagnola” and in warehouses in the city of Padua were organized. The aim of the meetings was not only to map the widespread abuses in the workplace but also to understand which strategies and practices workers put in place to contrast such violations, and which support they receive from institutions and other social organizations. Privileged witnesses such as trade unionists, activists of solidarity associations, health inspectors, and other key informants have also been met. The focus of the interviews concerned the workers’ work and life conditions, cases of severe labour exploitation, the type of migration and the means of access to justice and citizenship rights.

Both sectors are characterized by the employment of a high number of migrant workers and by a strong internal stratification. In the first case, we have deepened the role of international recruitment agencies. These agencies are an important factor that determines the degree of “workers' freedom” and the level of exploitation. In the second case, the logistics sector, we analyzed the role of cooperatives and outsourcing processes. The subcontracting of services allows the parent company to shift its risks onto another, to take advantage of a low labour cost and, as the workers argued, it makes it difficult to identify the workers’ counterpart.

The interviewed workers reported serious cases of exploitation and labour-rights violations. The most common are: excessive working hours, forced and unpaid overtime, wage theft, non-application of the collective bargaining agreements, threats and psychological harassment at work, and wages below the legal minimum. In Hearing II, we plan to discuss those issues together with workers and labour rights experts, with the main objective to outline good practices and potential solutions and recommendations.

Lithuania
Diversity Development Group

Location: Diversity Development Group, Date: 26 June 2015, Number of participants: 15

During the implementation of the LABCIT project, Diversity Development Group performed several preparatory activities. The purpose of these activities was to find and collect labour rights violation cases, identify workers who are willing to share their experiences and input with us in Hearing II, as well as to study and understand the importance of European citizenship for the workers. These cases revealed the reality of working in the European Union and helped us in identifying difficulties European citizens – specifically Lithuanian citizens – are facing as labour migrants.

In particular, the cases reveal that the selection of emigration destination from Lithuania is influenced by the presence of friends/family who already live in the destination country or by the presence of Lithuanian communities in those areas. Two patterns of arriving to the destination can be distinguished: a) workers sign work agreements in Lithuania before leaving and the employer is responsible for covering their travel and accommodation or b) the workers arrive to the destination country and search for employment opportunities on their own. In most of the cases we encountered, workers performed labour in the service sector (restaurants, cafes, nursing-homes) or various food production factories. The most common labour rights violations that the workers are reporting include: unpaid wages, overtime hours, abusive management, involvement in illegal activities such as opening fake bank accounts and money laundering. In order to obtain a deeper understanding of the difficulties faced by the migrant workers, individual meetings with experts from various organizations were held including the labour union “Solidarumas”, Caritas Human trafficking project, a men’s crisis center, and a women’s information center, where we discussed emigrant profiles and reasons of emigration.

In Hearing II, we plan to discuss identified issues with the project partners, look for good practices and potential solutions in the partner countries by categorizing labour migration issues into three phases: pre-migration, migration, return.

Event II. - Hearings I 

As part of the “Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship: From Cases of Labour Rights Violations to a Strengthened Labour-Rights Regime” project co-funded by the European Union under the Europe for All Citizens Programme, 5 partner countries including Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Lithuania and Germany, are Hearings with migrant workers from various economic sectors.

Through these Hearings and debates we managed to gain a preliminary idea of how workers see and experience their “labour citizenship”, and where the gaps between their experiences of exploitation and rights as working European citizens lie. On the basis of these Hearings the same partner countries and organizations will hold a second round of hearings with not only migrant workers, but also policy makers and stakeholders, in order to discuss the best possible policies and recommendations. All Hearing I Summaries HERE.

Hearing Summaries

Czech Republic

Hearing I
Partner: Multicultural Center Prague, Czech Republic
Location: MKC Office, Prague
Date: 20 June 2015
Number of participants: 25

Romania

Hearing I
Partner: Conect
Location: CONECT Office, Bucharest
Dates: 10 April, 26 May, 20 June, 28 June, 21 July, 10 August 2015
Number of participants: 25

Germany

Hearing I
Partner: Polnischer Sozialrat
Location: Polnischer Sozialrat Office
Dates: 29 August, 9 September, 16 September, 26 September 2015
Number of participants: 33

Event III. - Hearings II 

As part of the “Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship: From Cases of Labour Rights Violations to a Strengthened Labour-Rights Regime” project co-funded by the European Union under the Europe for All Citizens Programme, five partner countries including Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Lithuania and Germany, have held a second round of Hearingsinvolving policy makers, state representatives, migrant workers, and other stakeholders.

The second round of mostly-public hearings comes as a continuation of the first set, and aimed to push forward the identified cases and issues of labour rights violations with associated local stakeholders, using expert help and input. After identifying some of the key gaps between workers’ experiences of exploitation and their rights under local and EU law, especially with regards to mobility, the second hearings pushed for a deeper understanding of such abuses as systemic, and envisioned possible solutions and recommendations.

Hearing Summaries

Czech Republic

Hearing II
Partner: MKC, Czech Republic
Location: Public Defender of Rights Office (Ombudsman), Brno
Date: November 27 and 28
Number of participants: 40

Lithuania

Hearing II
Partner: Diversity Development Group
Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
Date: 29 and 30.10.2015
Number of participants: 35

Italy

Hearing II
Partner: University of Padua
Location: Padua
Date: 23 and 24 of October, 2015
Number of participants: 56

Germany

Hearing II
Partner: Polish Social Council, Germany
Location: Europäisches Informationszentrum, Berlin
Date: 4 and 5 December, 2015
Number of participants: 45

Romania

Hearing II
Partner: CONECT Association, Romania
Location: The Czech Center, Bucharest, Romania
Date: 11 and 12 December, 2015.
Number of participants: 30

Event IV. - Conference  

On Monday 4th of April 2016, SOLIDAR and its partner Multicultural Center Prague (MKC Prague) held a conference to present five country reports on labour rights violations from the LABCIT project and to present SOLIDAR’s vision of high social safeguards. The event aimed to promote fair labour mobility in the EU and to make a case for strengthening “labour citizenship”. The LABCIT project, “Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship: From cases of Labour Rights Violations to a strengthened Labour Rights Regime”, which is co-funded by the Europe For Citizens Programme of the European Union, joined together twelve partners from eleven countries to investigate cases of labour rights violations of mobile EU citizens. The project held several hearings and consulted with over 250 workers, labour experts, and civil society actors and stakeholders.

Policy brief

Conference Summary

Event V. - Post-conference activities  

Czech Republic

Roundatble with Trade Unions (Partner: Multicultural center Prague, Location: Trade Union Building, Date: 23 May2016, Number of participants: 30)

Seminar at the Ministry of Labour (Partner: Multicultural Center Prague, Location: Ministry of Labour, Date: 20 June 2016, Number of participants: 50)

Workshop and Documentary films Screening( Partner: Multicultural center Prague, Location: Faculty of Natural Sciences, IMISCOE Conference, Date: 1 July 2016, Number of participants: 11)

 

Workshop PART I: Class and Nationalism in Central Europe and Beyond (Partner: Multicultural center Prague, Location: Tranzitdisplay Gallery, Date: 16 July 2016, Number of participants: 30)

Workshop PART II: Exploitation of migrant workers in neoliberal economies in Europe and the world - Part B (Partner: Multicultural Center Prague, Location: Potrvá Café, Date: 18 July 2016, Number of participants: 24)


Poland

Partner: The Galician Foundation for Regional Development 
Location: Państwomiasto, ul. Andersa 29, Warszawa
Date: July 1, 2016
Number of participants: 22

Germany
Partner: The Polish Social Council 
Location: Polnischer Sozialrat e. V., Berlin
Date: July 2-3, 2016
Number of participants: 33

Italy

Roundtable PART I: New Proposals for Internation Cooperation (Partner: University of Padua, Location: University of Padua, Date: 21 June 2016, Number of participants: 15)

Roundtable PART II: Roundtable with Trade unionists (Partner: University of Padua, Location: Casa Madiba, Rimini, Date: 15 July 2016, Number of participants: 18)


The information on this web page reflects only the authors’ views. The Education, audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency and the European Commission are neither responsible nor liable for any use that may be made of the information contained on this web page.

Project outputs:

Social Standards at Risk: Making the case for Labour Citizenship in Europe

Social Standards at Risk: Making the case for Labour Citizenship in Europe

31. 3. 16

Across Europe, mobile EU workers are experiencing various types of labour rights violations and exploitation which form serious obstacles to their rights as mobile EU citizens. In our project “LABCIT” we are “testing” the ability of European citizenship to be extended to work situations through a series of public hearings with workers and stakeholders across 6 countries (Czech Republic, G...

Labour MigrationEU Romania Germany Czech Republic Polandresearch reports and studies

LABOUR MOBILITY AND CITIZENSHIP SAFEGUARDING SOCIAL STANDARDS IN EUROPE

12. 3. 16

On Monday 4th of April 2016, SOLIDAR and its partner Multicultural Center Prague (MKC Prague) held a conference to present five country reports on labour rights violations from the LABCIT project and to present SOLIDAR’s vision of high social safeguards. 

Migration and the EU Labour MigrationEU Romania Bulgaria Germany Czech Republic Polandresearch reports and studies
Italy: Exploitation in the Hospitality Industry and the Logistics Sector

Italy: Exploitation in the Hospitality Industry and the Logistics Sector

4. 2. 16

Partner: University of Padua
Location: Padua
Date: 23 and 24 of October, 2015

Number of participants: 56

Labour MigrationEU
Romania: New Labour Rights Violations After the EU Adhesion – from Bogus Self Employment to Severe Exploitation

Romania: New Labour Rights Violations After the EU Adhesion – from Bogus Self Employment to Severe Exploitation

29. 1. 16
Partner: CONECT Association, Romania
Location: The Czech Center, Bucharest, Romania
Date: 11 and 12 December, 2015. 
Number of participants: 30

Labour MigrationRomaniaresearch reports and studies
Lithuania: Challenges and Solutions in Three Phases of Migration

Lithuania: Challenges and Solutions in Three Phases of Migration

25. 1. 16

Partner: Diversity Development Group
Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
Date: 29 and 30.10.2015 

Number of participants: 35

Labour Migrationresearch reports and studies
Czech Republic: Responsibility and Liability in Subcontracting Chains

Czech Republic: Responsibility and Liability in Subcontracting Chains

18. 1. 16
Partner: MKC, Czech Republic
Location: Public Defender of Rights Office (Ombudsman), Brno
Date: November 27 and 28 
Number of participants: 40

Labour MigrationCzech Republicresearch reports and studies

Germany: Hearing I

1. 10. 15

As part of the “Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship: From Cases of Labour Rights Violations to a Strengthened Labour-Rights Regime” project co-funded by the European Union under the Europe for All Citizens Programme, 5 partner countries including Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Lithuania and Germany, are Hearings with migrant workers from various economic sectors.

Labour MigrationEU Germany Polandarticlesprojects
Mapping Cases of Labour Rights Violations: Hearings with Migrant Workers in 5 EU Countries

Mapping Cases of Labour Rights Violations: Hearings with Migrant Workers in 5 EU Countries

3. 9. 15

As part of the “Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship: From Cases of Labour Rights Violations to a Strengthened Labour-Rights Regime” project co-funded by the European Union under the Europe for All Citizens Programme, 5 partner countries including Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Lithuania and Germany, are holding preparatory activities and Hearings with migrant wo...

Labour MigrationCzech Republic Hungaryresearch reports and studies

Romania: Hearing I

31. 8. 15

As part of the “Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship: From Cases of Labour Rights Violations to a Strengthened Labour-Rights Regime” project co-funded by the European Union under the Europe for All Citizens Programme, 5 partner countries including Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Lithuania and Germany, are Hearings with migrant workers from various economic sectors.

EU Romaniaprojects
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120 00 Praha 2

Tel: (+420) 296 325 346
E-mail: migraceonline@mkc.cz

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