Global Cities at Work: New Migrant Divisions of Labour

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This book is about the people who always get taken for granted. The people who clean our offices and trains, care for our elders and change the sheets on the bed. Global Cities at Work draws on testimony collected from more than 800 foreign-born workers employed in low-paid jobs in London during the first decade of the 21st century.

The authors break new ground in London's new migrant division of labour to the twin processes of subcontracting and increased international migration. The book calls us to prioritise the issue of working poverty and examines its implications for both unemployment and community cohesion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For centuries, London has been a city of migrants. Global Cities at Work shows, however, that new and distinctive 'migrant divisions of labor' are being forged in the context of today's contracted-out capitalism. The voices of migrant workers—so often silenced in mainstream discussions of the global city—really come alive in these pages. Meticulously researched and powerfully argued, the book exposes the hidden hands that make global cities work, while staking a claim to a more just future." —Jamie Peck, Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia

"This research is a rare but critical window into the scale, nature and contradictions of contemporary immigration into the UK. While foreign financiers and footballers have made London a ‘world city’, this book casts light on much larger migrant workforce that keeps the city functioning. A migration study based on real evidence makes this a welcome and essential read for anyone interested in going beyond simplistic headlines." —Danny Sriskandarajah, former Head of Migration at the Institute for Public Policy Research

"This is a very timely book. The description of migration-based divisions in the labour market should be of concern to all policy makers and politicians currently involved in planning a way out of deep recession. After reading this analysis, the task of winning stronger rights for migrant workers to overcome marginalisation and exploitation seems ever more urgent." —Don Flynn, Director of the Migrants Rights Network

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745327990
  • Publisher: Pluto Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Wills, Kavita Datta, Yara Evans, Joanna Herbert, Jon May and Cathy McIlwaine are all in the Department of Geography and The City Centre at Queen Mary, University of London. The team have already published articles based on their ESRC-funded research in Transactions of the Institute of British Geography, International Development Planning Review, the British Journal of Industrial Relations, European Urban and Regional Studies, Just Labor: A Canadian Journal of Work and Society and the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. The research has also provided intelligence for London Citizens' living wage campaign.
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Table of Contents

List of tables vi

List of figures vii

List of photos viii

List of abbreviations and acronyms ix

Acknowledgements xi

1 Deregulation, Migration and the New World of Work 1

2 Global City Labour Markets and London's New Migrant Division of Labour 28

3 London's Low-Paid Foreign-Born Workers 59

4 Living and Remaking London's Ethnic and Gender Divisions 94

5 Tactics of Survival among Migrant Workers in London 121

6 Relational Lives: Migrants, London and the Rest of the World 138

7 Remaking the City: Immigration and Post-Secular Politics in London Today 163

8 Just Geographies of (Im)migration 188

Appendices 197

References 204

Index 227

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