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Subcontracting, Posted Migrants and Labour Market Segmentation in Finland


  • Nathan Lillie is at the Department of Global Economics and Management, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen.


Using evidence from the shipbuilding and construction industries in Finland, this article shows how trade union responses to the introduction of migrant workers can be conditioned by product markets. Growing numbers of ‘posted workers’, or intra-European Union work migrants employed via transnational subcontractors, are segmenting the labour market, by competing with domestically domiciled workers whose employment is more tightly regulated. In Finland, the construction worker's union has had a far more assertive and successful approach to enforcing wage norms than the union in shipbuilding. This appears to be related to the greater exposure of shipbuilding to international product market competition.