Chances and Challenges of Migrant Care and Domestic Workers Organizing: Experiences from Germany

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Kyoko SHINOZAKI, Osnabrück University, Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies, Germany
Germany was the second European country after Italy, which ratified the C189 in 2013. In the absence of nationally prominent migrant care and domestic workers organizing, compared to Italy, and major sending countries such as the Philippines, the ratification (may) have come as a surprise. In addition, migrant care workers from Third Countries, who work in private homes, are confronted with “double illegality” due to their irregular migration status and the lack of a work permit. Criminalized by law, structural obstacles to collective protests have been and still continue to be high for them. In fact, many studies, including my own, tended to focus on individual-based strategies at the workplace, rather than group-based organizing, in order to improve their working conditions. While a collective bargaining agreement has been concluded between the Food, Beverages and Catering Trade Union (NGG) and the Network Household, the NGG and the German Trade Union Confederation have long been indifferent to the plight of migrant domestic workers. So, how did the ratification happen? Based on a survey of the existing literature as well as my own cumulative research on migrant care and domestic workers in German cities since 2001, I aim to trace steps and cases of organizing and activism, eventually paving a way for the ratification. By doing so, I critically examine the dualism of trade unions vs. migrant NGOs as a form of political organizing. In addition, I wish to engage with the intersectionality debate. Intersectionality has been discussed mainly to renders the experiences of simultaneous discrimination and oppression along the line of gender, racialization and class. However, in understanding chances and challenges of migrant care and domestic workers organizing, this analytical tool may also be able to visualize the potential of an alliance and coalition along the same social divisions.