Research

Migrant labour in the North East’s Night-Time Economy AND Exploring labour security: the perceptions and experiences of gendered work among young adult social care workers in Teesside

  • 23 January 2019
  • 4.00PM - 6.00PM
  • Not a public event  |  Booking required: Yes
  • CL1.01 (Clarendon Boardroom)  |  Directions

About | Migrant labour in the North East’s Night-Time Economy AND Exploring labour security: the perceptions and experiences of gendered work among young adult social care workers in Teesside



Mark Bushell and Duncan Fisher present:

Migrant labour in the North East’s night-time economy

This paper discusses several key issues as part of a doctoral study which comprises an ethnographically flavoured exploration of migrant workers in the urban night-time economy. The project adopts a harm-based focus to explore the nature of precarity amongst migrant workers together with the combination of economic and social factors that have served to foster this predicament. The study also considers an inherent attribute of precarious work: specifically, the continuum of exploitation that is now embedded into Western labour markets.
Existing research on deviant leisure and the night-time economy suggests that our deindustrialized urban environments are driven by consumer excess, envy and confounded desire. The project posits that the experiences of migrant workers who service these post-social spaces can tell us about the wider structural impact of neoliberalism, globalization and the commodification of 24/7 city culture.
Based on data drawn from interviews and conversations with North East night-time workers, the paper draws on some reflections of a range of reported harms that impact upon the lifeworld of the migrant worker. Although these harms might include the low hanging fruit that successive governments have sought to address such as racial violence and human slavery, they extend well beyond this to include chronic sleep deprivation, health problems, social isolation and various forms of employer exploitation. A key theoretical objective derived from the work of Roy Bhaskar - and more recently ultra realism - is to explore the concept of absence as a mediator in sustaining harmful outcomes for migrants working in the nocturnal service indust
Finally, the paper examines various ways workers negotiate the challenges and stress from their working environment. Specifically assessing that night-time migrant workers are often at a significant disadvantage in their ability to deploy strategies that challenge and limit oppressive workplace controls and leaving them open to a greater risk of harm and exploitation.


Exploring labour security: the perceptions and experiences of gendered work among young adult social care workers in Teesside
The status of social care work in the UK manifests itself in widespread very low pay and labour insecurity, and the sector’s high turnover rate reveals particular difficulties with the retention of young adult workers. Very few studies have examined young adults’ involvement in this heavily gendered sector during transitions to adulthood.
This presentation will showcase initial findings from a doctoral study aiming to contribute new understanding of contemporary working conditions, practices and precarity, with focus on the perceptions and experiences of young adult social care workers in the Teesside (north-east England) area. There will be a critical interrogation of theories and descriptions of precarious work, and of gendered and emotional labour. The study brings together literature regarding labour insecurity, youth transitions, and theories of gendered work and care. The study also enhances understanding of the political economy of the UK care and broader welfare regimes, and contribute to policy debate on working conditions and practices in the sector.
Influenced in method and approach by the Teesside studies of youth and social exclusion, it aims to complement and add to that rich body of work. The main stage of data collection is semi-structured interviews with 18-30 year old frontline social care workers, this presentation delivers findings of initial stage interviews with key sectoral and local labour market stakeholders, including employees from local authorities, further education colleges, and care providers. The study is situated at the intersection of social inequalities of age, place, class, and gender, and interview findings will be presented under these themed headings.



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