Picking on vulnerable migrants: precarity and the mushroom industry in Northern Ireland

Michael Potter, Jennifer Hamilton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article examines precarious employment in the context of the mushroom industry in Northern Ireland. Migrant workers engaged in mushroom picking were interviewed in the context of wider research investigating forced labour in Northern Ireland. The research found that, while the boundaries between exploitation and forced labour are complex and difficult to discern, there was some evidence of borderline forced labour, according to ILO definitions. However, workers found themselves on a ‘continuum of exploitation’, where initial engagement with the prospect of decent work was superseded by increasing endurance of exploitative practices, brought about by unequal power relationships with employers originating in immigration status. This is examined in the wider theoretical context of precarity, of which precarious employment comprises a part.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)390-406
    Number of pages17
    JournalWork, Employment and Society
    Volume28
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

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