• Projects



    Ongoing research project started in 2017.


    Funded by personal Røwdes Foundation grant.


    In principle, EU migrant workers have equal rights to social security throughout the EU. In effect, however, this is not the case: some are reportedly excluded from unemployment allowances, while others do not have access to family benefits. The aim of this project is to examine the experience of EU migrant workers, specifically those with irregular and insecure employment, with regard to accessing social security rights in other EU member states.




    Collaborative research project started in January 2017.

    Funded by the Norwegian Ministry for Equality.


    Iceland is the country that is closest to gender equality in its society and economy across the world according to the Global Gender Gap ranking. The current government wants to further progress for full equality between genders with a new legislation. In 2018, Iceland introduced a mandatory certification process for companies and institutions with 25 employees, which, through this process, must prove that they pay men and women the same for the same job. This mechanism moves the burden of proof from employee to employer and forces companies to develop a more transparent system for the way they value different jobs. Based on qualitative in-depth interviews with key government informants, social partners and HR managers in Iceland, this project tales an initial look at how the Icelandic Equal Pay Standard was established and how it works in practice.






    Book published with Cornell University Press.


    This project reported on interviews with and participant observation of posted workers regarding how they experience the posting relationship, the mechanisms that enable access or denial to their rights, their ability to voice concerns over exploitative practices, and their interactions with institutions who should in theory enforce their rights.







  • Book

    Workers Without Borders: Posted Work and Precarity in the EU

    (Use discount code CSANNOUNCE to save 30%)


    Book Description:

    How the European Union handles posted workers is a growing issue for a region with borders that really are just lines on a map. A 2008 story, dissected in Ines Wagner’s Workers without Borders, about the troubling working conditions of migrant meat and construction workers, exposed a distressing dichotomy: how could a country with such strong employers’ associations and trade unions allow for the establishment and maintenance of such a precarious labor market segment?


    Wagner introduces an overlooked piece of the puzzle: re-regulatory politics at the workplace level. She interrogates the position of the posted worker in contemporary European labour markets and the implications of and regulations for this position in industrial relations, social policy and justice in Europe. Workers without Borders concentrates on how local actors implement European rules and opportunities to analyze the balance of power induced by the EU around policy issues.


    Wagner examines the particularities of posted worker dynamics at the workplace level, in German meatpacking facilities and on construction sites, to reveal the problems and promises of European Union governance as regulating social justice. Using a bottom-up approach through in-depth interviews with posted migrant workers and administrators involved in the posting process, Workers without Borders shows that strong labor-market regulation via independent collective bargaining institutions at the workplace level is crucial to effective labor rights in marginal workplaces. Wagner identifies structures of access and denial to labor rights for temporary intra-EU migrant workers and the problems contained within this system for the EU more broadly.

    Advance Praise:

    "The theoretical underpinning and research methods of Workers without Borders are of very high quality and provide a greatly needed analysis of labor processes and transnational employment relationships in Europe. Ines Wagner has written a significant contribution to our understanding of the emerging European labor market, and to theoretical discussions on institutional change." - Jörg Flecker, Professor of Sociology, University of Vienna,and editor of Space, Place and Global Digital Work


    "Workers without Borders is an exceptionally thoughtful book on an important subject matter in Europe and beyond. Ines Wagner advances discussions on industrial and labor relations by combining empirical evidence and theoretical interpretations, pointing to implications that have not been discussed before." - Anke Hassel, Professor of Public Policy, Hertie School of Governance, and author of Wage Setting, Social Pacts, and the Euro: A New Role for the State


    For more information, please contact Jonathan Hall: jlh98@cornell.ed


    To download infographic of the main findings of the book click here

  • Publications


    Ines Wagner 2018. Workers Without Borders: Posted Work and Precarity in the EU. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


    Martin Seeliger and Ines Wagner. 2018. "A Socialization Paradox: Trade Union Policy Cooperation in the Case of the Enforcement Directive". Socio-Economic Review.


    Ines Wagner and Bjarke Refslund. 2016. “Understanding the Converging Trajectories of German and Danish Labour Politics: a Power Relations Approach”. European Journal of Industrial Relations 22 (4): 335-351.


    Ines Wagner and Lisa Berntsen. 2016. “Restricted Rights: Obstacles in Enforcing Labour Rights of EU Mobile Workers in the German and Dutch Construction sectors”. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 22(2): 193-206.


    Ines Wagner. 2015. “Rule Enactment in a Pan-European Labour Market: Transnational Posted Work in the German Construction Sector”. British Journal of Industrial Relations 53 (4): 692-170.


    Ines Wagner. 2015."The Political Economy of Borders in a ‘Borderless’ European Labour Market". Journal of Common Market Studies 53 (6): 1195-1408.


    Ines Wagner. 2015. EU "Posted Work and Transnational Action in the German Meat Industry". Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 21 (2): 201-213.


    Ines Wagner and Nathan Lillie. 2014. "European Integration and the Disembedding of Labour Market Regulation: Transnational Labour Relations at the European Central Bank Construction Site.“ Journal of Common Market Studies 52(2): 403-419.


    Erka Caro, Lisa Berntsen, Nathan Lillie and Ines Wagner. 2015.” Posted Migration and Segregation in the European Construction Sector.“ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 41 (10): 1600-1620.

    Book chapters

    Bjarke Refslund and Ines Wagner. 2018. “Cutting to the Bone: Worker’s solidarity in the Danish-German slaughterhouse industry” in Doellgast, Virginia, Lillie, Nathan and Puglinani, Valeria (eds.) Restructuring Solidarity: Labour Unions, Precarious Work, and the Politics of Institutional Change in Europe. Oxford University Press


    Ines Wagner. 2018. “Trade Unions and migrant workers in Germany Unions between national and transnational Labour market segmentation” in Marino, Stefania, Penninx, Rinus and Roosblad Judith (eds.) Trade Unions and Migrant Workers: New Contexts and Challenges in Europe. Edward Elgar Publishing.

    Nathan Lillie and Ines Wagner. 2017. “Practicing European Industrial Citizenship: The Case of Labour Migration to Germany,” in Wiesner, Claudia, Bjork, Anna, Kivisto, Hanna-Mari, Makinen, Katja (eds.) Shaping Citizenship: A Political Concept in Theory, Debate and Practice. Routledge.


    Nathan Lillie and Ines Wagner. 2015. “Subcontracting, Insecurity and Posted Work” in Drahokoupil, Jan (ed.) Ousourcing Across Borders: Working Conditions an Organizing Strategies in Highly Fragmened Production Networks. Brussels: European Trade Union Institute.


    Nathan Lillie, Ines Wagner and Lisa Berntsen. 2014. “Posted Migration, Spaces of Exception and the Politics of Labour Relations in the European Cnstruction Industry” in Hauptmeier, Marco, Vidal, Matt (eds.) The Comparative Political Economy of Work and Employment Relations: 312-331. Palgrave Macmillan.


    Nathan Lillie, Erka Caro, Lisa Berntsen and Ines Wagner. 2013. “Migration and Mobility: Employment Relations and the Global Mobile Workforce” in Miguel Martinez-Lucio (ed.) International Human Resource Management: An Employment Relations Perspective: 220-238. London: SAGE.


    Ines Wagner and Nathan Lillie (2013) Institutionalismus und räumliche Desintegration in der vergleichenden Kapitalismusforschung: Arbeitsbeziehungen auf der Baustelle der Europäischen Zentralbank“ in Bruff, I., Ebenau, M., May, C. and Nölke, A. (eds.) Vergleichende Kapitalismusforschung: Stand, Perspektiven, Kritik , pp. 133-136. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot.

    Book Reviews

    “Labour and Transnational Action in Times of Crisis“ Edited by Andreas Bieler, Roland Erne, Darragh Golden, Idar Helle, Knut Kjeldstadli, Tiago Matos and Sabina Stan, Rowman and Littlefield, 2015, ILR Review 70 (1): 261-261, 2017.


    “Migrants at Work: Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law” Edited by Cathryn Costello and Mark Freedland, Oxford University Press, 2015. British Journal of Industrial Relations 54 (4): 883-884, 2016.


    “Town Twinning, Transnational Connections, and Trans-Local Citizenship Practices in Europe“ by Langenohl, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Journal of Common Market Studies 54 (4): 1042, 2016.


    “EU Labour Migration in Troubled Times” by Galgoczi, B. Leschke, J. and Watt, A. (eds.). Journal of Common Market Studies 51 (5) p. 987, 2013.


    “Global Restructuring, Labour and the Challenges for Transnational Solidarity” by Bieler, A, and Lindberg, I. (eds.). British Journal of Industrial Relations 50 (2) pp. 378-380, 2012.

    Policy Reports

    Ines Wagner. 2017. Changing rules, changing practices? The case of the German meat industry. Report for the project “Protecting Mobility through Improving Labour Rights Enforcement in Europe (PROMO)”, VS/2016/0222. “EaSI” (2014-2020).


    Karen Jaehrling, Claudia Weinkopf and Ines Wagner (with Gerhard Bosch and Thorsten Kalina) 2016. Reducing Precarious Work in Europe through Social Dialogue: the Case of Germany, Report for the European Commission, Institute of Work, Skills and Training, University of Duisburg-Essen, pp.129.


    Ines Wagner (2015) “Die Umsetzung des Minimumloon in den Niederlanden” in Schulten, T. and Böhlke, N. (Hrs.) Umsetzung und Kontrolle von Mindestlöhnen: Europäische Erfahrungen und was Deutschland von ihnen lernen kann, study for Gesellschaft für Innovationsforschung und Beratung.


    Ines Wagner (2015) “The Enforcement Directive of the Posting of Workers Directive”. Study for the Multicultural Center Prague.

  • Contact

    Norwegian Institute for Social Research

    Munthes gate 31

    0260 Oslo