Migrant workers’ exercise of agency during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: resilience, reworking and resistance

Miles, Lilian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7224-757X, Freeman, Tim ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9317-811X, Polzin, Amanda, Reitz, Rishab and Croucher, Richard ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9617-734X (2023) Migrant workers’ exercise of agency during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: resilience, reworking and resistance. Economic and Industrial Democracy . ISSN 0143-831X [Article] (Accepted/In press)

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Drawing on qualitative data, we apply Katz’s conceptual framework of agency as resilience, reworking and resistance practices to theorise UK migrant workers’ responses to worsened employment conditions, stress of unemployment and reduced incomes during the pandemic. We draw attention to the range of micro practices they adopted to survive and rework existing conditions to their advantage - actions which rarely feature in academic writing, yet which recognise those who do not ‘resist’ as conscious agents who exercise power. Meanwhile, although outright oppositional responses to deteriorating employment conditions are rare, we demonstrate the nature of workplace union representation as a central factor in resisting managerial control. We extend Katz’s framework by considering the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind migrant workers’ responses, to understand better their dynamic choices of resilience, reworking and resistance practices in the chaotic circumstances of the pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 38027
Notes on copyright: The author accepted manuscript is made available in this repository in accordance with the publisher's (SAGE) self-archiving policy for an Institutional Repository https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/posting-to-an-institutional-repository-green-open-access
Depositing User: Tim Freeman
Date Deposited: 26 May 2023 11:24
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2023 16:15
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/38027

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