Migrants in the fields
Making work pay
in Spacing Ireland
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This chapter draws ethnographic fieldwork to consider changes in the profile of horticultural labour in Ireland and attempts to situate the behaviour and actions of growers and workers in relation to local and global economic processes. It explores how uneven production within horticulture, aligned with changes to state welfare provisions following accession of the EU-12, has impacted on migrant workers and their families. In parallel with changes such as centralised distribution along with concentration within the food retail market, production within the horticulture sector has seen significant consolidation. During the Celtic Tiger years, consumers sought out pre-packaged horticultural products. Labour demand volatility is a well-established trait of the horticultural sector. The State moved to support the horticultural labour market with the 2001 introduction of a contract labour programme. The labour programme called the Seasonal Horticultural Workers Scheme (SHWS) build on the more general work permit system initiated in 1999.

Spacing Ireland

Place, society and culture in a post-boom era


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