Ben Ledger-Jessop

Ben Ledger-Jessop

Precarity among migrant workers and barriers to accessing formal support

Capitalism has always relied on a flexible workforce that it can utilise as it needs. Workers now face a range of issues that include excessive surveillance and insecurity of pay and working patterns under zero hour contracts. At the same time, changes in legislation have made it easier to dismiss workers and alter the terms of their contracts, while a combination of low wages and irregular employment contribute to growing levels of in-work poverty.

Migrants are often used as quick-fix to plug labour shortages; particularly during times of economic downturns, with entry criterion manipulated to ensure migrants arrive to meet the labour market’s need for low-paid labour. Migrants are more likely to be on Temporary Agency Worker contracts, indeed, at the highest rate in Europe. Access to formal support, carried out by trained professionals, such as trade unions, charities and state welfare is restricted by language, knowledge of its existence and material pressures on workers. These factors combine to produce a distinctly heterogenous group of people who often exist in highly precarious circumstances, and whose issues are not well understood through existing research. This PhD aims therefore to develop a better understanding of this group.

Funded in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University


Bob Jeffery (Main supervisor)
Rich Crisp (2nd supervisor)