From Migrant to Worker

In a new review for JCA, Jan-Jan Soon of the School of Economics, Finance & Banking at the Universiti Utara Malaysia looks at From Migrant to Worker: Global Unions and Temporary Labor Migration in Asia by Michele Ford and published by Cornell University Press.

Soon identifies two themes to the book:

The first is for migrant workers to be regarded primarily as workers with labour rights rather than as migrants caught between the precarity of their migration status and peripheral position in the employment relations regime. The second theme is for local labour unions in the destination countries to ultimately integrate labour migration regimes with employment relations regimes.

Soon considers the book “a compelling account of how local unions in Asian countries … came to embrace temporary labour migrants, typically unskilled to semi-skilled blue-collar workers with limited-term contracts, and the efforts taken to accord them their rightful place within the countries’ employment relations regimes.”

Noting that the book lacks a section on the theoretical underpinnings that drive the book’s discussions and a paucity of detail on questions asked in interviews, Soon sees “impeccable research and erudite discourse” and an “almost encyclopaedic detail” that will make the book “an authoritative reference on this issue and transcends both national and continental borders.”

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