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Union Low-pay-worker Representation and the sans-papiers Strikes in France


  • Ingrid Artus


The article deals with the problem of union representation in the low-pay-sector. Regarding especially (but not only) the situation in Germany, it claims a cultural gap between traditional unions and employees in the expanding precarious job sector. This is due to the difficult circumstances for worker interest representation in these sectors, but also to problems of the unions to deal with ‘crazy’ struggles typically erupting in this employment area. In the following the French case of the sans-papiers strike between October 2009 and summer 2010 is empirically examined as an example of relatively successful ‘bridge-building’ between established unions and precarious wage-earners. Although this case is also committed to specific French conditions, some things can be learned from it for a more general assessment of the topic of union politics in the low-pay area.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingrid Artus, 2011. "Union Low-pay-worker Representation and the sans-papiers Strikes in France," International Journal of Action Research, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 7(1), pages 49-79.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:ijares:doi_10.1688/1861-9916_ijar_2011_01_artus

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    low pay work; precarious work; interest representation; sans papiers-strike; Germany; France;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J83 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Workers' Rights


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