Topic: Migrantkollektivet - the migrant worker community in the fishing industry of Norway
Key words: fisheries, workmigration, community, embeddedness, interactions
The EU-enlargement in 2004 and 2007 made it easy for Norwegian salmon- and fishingindustry plants through the EEA-agreement, to recruit necessary workforce into rural areas of our coast.
For maintaining stable production, through the seasonal- or the whole-year production of fresh fish and salmon, there has been an import of labour that now counts for more than half of employees in many fishingindustry companies. In this study I find that almost 80% of workers has an eastern European origin. Expansion in the salmon farming industry will provide a double up of willing work force. This kind of work is not much popular in Norway, so it is expected that a potential sixfold of the industry (Sintef 2017) will demand more stable workforce- maybe from the east.
It is also important for companies and communities to take good care of their guestworkers. They need to provide accommodation to newcomers, and to make sure they will settle down. Integration is good for tax-income and good for embeddedness and sustainable coastal communities.
Suitable arenas for integration has been called upon to make the integration smooth, and some municipalities offers language training in companies as well as in local communities. May be good examples of how migrant workers has a chance to integrate in their new communities- both in work and in private life.
In this paper I study multicultural work-environment in 3 fishing-industryplants located from the north to the south of coastal Norway. I will try to reveal the potential interactions among the working migrants that creates a community, at work but also in the municipality. Actions and interactions makes communities, and social processes creates integration. Can we identify a collective consciousness in a multicultural work-environment that these 3 plants consists of? I will try to view the “Migrantkollektivet” through the angles of symbolic interactionism. Do interaction orders (Goffman 1983) make migrant workers evolve or maintain in a solidaric community, and is community created in this interaction? Are the actions of the migrant-workers shaping a migrant-collective or are their actions and negotiations a part of the community-interaction or the workplace-culture (company identity)?
In the study I am inspired by Arbeiderkollektivet, an industrial study of a working community where Lysgaard (1961, 1991) identified horizontal solidarity and loyalty among production workers, and where a collective spirit among the workers made them feel embedded and connected in the “fight” against the leadership pressure. Presence of organic or mechanical solidarity in groups might be a tool for understanding social integration.