The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the capacities of social movement actors (SMAs) and interest groups to negotiate responsibility, heighten issues of accountability and earn legitimacy from authorities and the wider public for the plight of dis-privileged Roma migrant berry pickers in the Swedish labour market. The objective is guided by a multi-sited ethnographical approach to data collection and analysis, which theoretically anchors in social movement frame analysis. The paper proposes that SMAs, in the face of incapacities of state and industry parties, generate the potentiality to leverage immediate humanitarian distress experienced by the workers and to accentuate their political and public visibility. Delimited by the internal organisational structure of a berry industry, partly operating behind informal employment schemes, future studies should devote closer attention in localising/identifying possible “back-stage” data-gathering settings. Policy-makers and special-interest organisations concerned with internal EU labour migration, labour standards and living condition issues, may consider the social and humanitarian implications of persistent responsibility ambiguities. The paper raises issues of informal work and forms of labour exploitation. The paper provides deeper insight into the societal nexus in which a “hard-to-reach group” of seasonal workers faces potential and actual exploitation.
Precarious migrant workers are today an everyday part of the Swedish labour market. They often work under conditions of vulnerability, on temporary contracts and with few rights. This dissertation examines collective actions aiming to improve the precarious conditions of three categories of workers –discriminated, seasonal and undocumented. The collective actors examined in the dissertation are composed of formal organisations such as non-governmental organisations, organisations founded on ethnic grounds and trade unions, but also more temporary groups and networks. The analysis foregrounds contemporary societal, economical and legal transfigurations that create the conditions for collaboration among the actors and the negotiations which they conduct. The dissertation contains four articles. The first article, addressing the situation of discriminated migrant workers, scrutinises the conditions for the engagement of anti-discrimination agencies. The result of the study illustrates how the actors, as a consequence of state subsidies, alter their original course of conduct by becoming market orientated,which contributes to tensions in relations with other collaborators. The second and third articles focus on the situation of Bulgarian-Roma berry pickers in the 2012 harvesting season. Thesearticles illuminate on the one hand, the driving forces to their labour migration and the challenges faced in Sweden, and on the other, the emergence of different collective actions and their significance for the workers. The fourth article centres on two trade union initiatives for the inclusion of undocumentedmigrant workers. The article analyses the challenges faced by the unions as they seek to extend solidarity to workers who are relegated to informal work. The article also elucidates that this endeavour,nonetheless, may have the potential to transform the political identity of trade unions and, by extension through collaborations with other collective actors, open the doors of solidarity for precarious EU migrants. In sum, the four articles show that there is a broad range of collective actors who are preparedto assist precarious migrant workers and to negotiate and at best improve their labour market conditions.These actors face many and difficult challenges. However, as the dissertation demonstrates, their engagement has made the reality of precarious migrant work visible to the public, legitimised the workers’ needs and enabled them to claim their rights.