Community Unionism in the South of Spain. Migrant Organised Trade Unions and the Labor Struggles within the Greenhouses of Almería

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Olaf TIETJE, University of Kassel, Germany
The south of Spain is – because of its highly intensified agriculture – often called the ›garden of Europe‹. Related to the big amount of all-season produced fruits and vegetables, mostly for the markets of northern Europe, there is also a high demand of workforce. Within the greenhouses of the Andalusian province Almería most of day labourers are migrants from Morocco, Mali and Senegal (Jiménez Díaz 2008; Tietje 2015).

The hard and usual informal organised labour is done by the often illegalised working immigrants under precarious circumstances. Related to their status the immigrants are hardly organised in trade unions or participating in labour struggles, but confronted with the permanent threat of deportation. Nevertheless, in the beginning of the 21st century some immigrated farm labourers founded a local group of the Andalusian day labourer trade union SOC/SAT. Over the years these immigrants could establish an important structure of support for farm labour struggles in the agriculture of Almería and for the everyday life of the immigrants as well – by using tools and strategies of community organising (Caruso 2017; Tietje 2016).

In my lecture, I will concentrate on the possibilities of community unionism in the context of the migrant organised SOC Almería. From this perspective, I will describe their strategies of organising and supporting the (migrant) workers and conclude to the innovative and revitalising potentials of their local built concepts. My conclusions are based on the research for my PhD thesis at the University of Kassel (Germany) and will be underlined by some selected empirical examples of my qualitative research.