Union responsibility to migrant workers: A Global justice approach

Einat Albin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


At a time when trade union activity is becoming more global, the article provides a theoretical framework that places a moral obligation on unions towards work migrants from the time they take a first step in the direction of movement, and continuing after they enter the receiving country and throughout the period of their work. The argument is based on theories of global justice and offers a threeaxis framework that enables a complex analysis of union responsibility: direct and political responsibility, labour connectedness and solidarity. The moral obligation of unions stemming from global justice differs from the citizenship-based model or that of human rights. Its basis is global. Such an obligation should be recognized by various institutions, including the courts, thereby adding a global dimension to rights relating to collective action, such as the right to unionize, the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike. The article analyses the ECJ's decisions in the Viking and Laval cases, showing how the court failed to recognize this global dimension, and claiming that if such recognition were to be extended, a more accurate balance could be achieved between rights relating to collective action and economic interests in an era of globalization.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbergqt026
Pages (from-to)133-153
Number of pages21
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Global justice
  • Globalization
  • Laval
  • Trade unions
  • Viking
  • Work migration


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