Problematising the interplay between employment relations, migration and mobility

Jenny Rodriguez, Lesley Mearns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to introduce the special issue by problematising labour agency, precariousness, and labour fragmentation as defining themes of the interplay between employment relations, migration and mobility. Drawing from discussions about the impact of globalisation on changes in features of work and employment, and bringing together theory and research on employment relations and labour migration, the paper discusses the relational spatial and temporal nature of agency, the diverse features of worker experiences of precariousness, and the resulting fragmentation in labour solidarity. Labour agency, precariousness and labour fragmentation intersect to create the axis of dynamics of hardship and abuse that dominate work experiences of migrant workers in the global labour market. Globalisation has a pervasive impact in articulating and perpetuating systemic processes of closure, entrapment and containment, which are triggered by migration and legitimised by dynamics of employment relations. The paper contributes to current discussions about the interplay between migration, mobility and employment relations and sets out future directions of research to enhance our understanding of the role of employment relations to perpetuate, legitimise and normalise dynamics of globalisation that promote the migrant division of labour and create contradictory labour demands and displacements in the global labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-593
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • globalization
  • migrant workers
  • migration
  • mobility
  • labour
  • employment relations
  • precariousness
  • labour fragmentation
  • labour agency


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