What is it about?

This chapter investigates an understudied corner of labour migration from the Philippines, namely women recruited for the service sector in Northern Europe in the second half of the 20th century. More specifically the chapter zooms in on the recruitment of Filipinas to Copenhagen hotels from the 1960s to the 1990s, and the relations between these migrant women workers and the Danish trade unions. Filipinos and Filipinas were in this period to some extent hired for industrial manufacturing jobs, but primarily for jobs in the service sector. In fact, though overlooked in most industry-focused research on the so-called guestworker era, the service (and the healthcare) sector recruited migrant labour on a massive scale during the 1960s and 1970s. These migrant service and care workers were predominantly women, many of from Southeast Asia.

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Why is it important?

To understand the dynamics and drivers of how Philippine society and state became a supplier of labour power to the world, the early stages of European recruitment and the experiences of Philippine workers in Europe provide an instructive case. These migrants performed vital functions in the local economies of the countries of destination, and in the case of Denmark they also came to play a central role in the development of trade union attitudes to migrant labour as well as in specific labour struggles tackling a changing labour market in the emerging neoliberal restructuring of the economy.

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This page is a summary of: Filipina Chambermaids in Denmark, May 2024, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/9789004686991_024.
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