Lillie Nathan, Professori / Professor

My research areas include trade union strategy, international trade unionism, labour mobility, trade union relations with migrant workers, posted work, European integration and labour politics, and changes in the interpretation of state sovereignty. I am current coordinating an EU Commission funded project on protection of migrant "posted" workers in the European Union with 5 EU partners, and am involved as a partner in a Horizon 2020 project on the labour market integration of migrants. I teach MA level courses in Social and Public policy, including Migration Policy.
Yhteiskuntapolitiikka / Social and public policy
Opinkivi 216.1.

Research Projects

PROMO: Porting of Workers - Protecting Mobility through Improving Labour Rights Enforcement in Europe

The situation of posted workers has become an increasing concern. It has even been among the agenda points of election campaigns in European Member States like France and others. Among workers, employees, their  unions, researchers, representatives of labour inspectors, social partners and other relevant actors the serious inadequacies of the protection systems for posted workers in the European Union are perceived as unfair competition on jobs, wages and income. Problems include significant wage differences, growth of a grey and informal economy, labour intermediaries, violations of social standards, social rights, and social security fraud. The perception of the problem has and continues to nourish right wing populist campaigns and parties.

Posting of workers brings about a conflict between the free movement of services and labour on the one hand, and basic social rights of association and industrial action, on the other hand.

JyU is leading the ‘Protecting Mobility through Improving Labour Rights Enforcement in Europe’ (PROMO) project that aims to enhance administrative cooperation and information sharing between relevant stakeholders engaged with posting of workers. In the framework of this project the following three briefing papers are now available to read:

On 24 and 25 November the PROMO project is hosting a conference to discuss “Strengthening Trans/national Cooperation among Labour Standards Enforcement Agencies in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities”. The conference will be held in Prague and will aim at exploring and discussing challenges and opportunities to strengthen the enforcement of labour standards for more effective protection and equal treatment of posted and migrant workers in Europe.

To register for the conference, please fill in and submit the online form by 6 October 2017.


Professor Lillie was involved as a scientific advisor in the project "Testing EU Citizenship as Labour Citizenship".  The project was coordinated by the Multicultural Centre Prague and brought together 12 partner organisations. It involving collecting EU and non-EU migrant workers’ testimonies about serious labour rights violations in a number of EU countries. The testimonies were the basis for launching a discussion of the role of EU and national institutions and laws in improving the working conditions in Europe and ensuring labour rights are respected. Individual Country Reports described key labour rights violations that they examined in specific sectors, the mechanisms of exploitation, and policy recommendations on the local and EU level.  Workshops were held in various EU countries, and there was a final conference in Brussels attended by various national and EU policy actors, academics, and NGOs. The project was funded by the European Commission's "Europe for the Citizens".   See the attached Labcit MKC info template for a description of the project.   Follow this link to get more information about the project results                

PDF document icon                Labcit MKC info template EfC-1 Copy.pdf                              —                   PDF document,                  179 KB (183927 bytes)


Research Areas

Labour migration, union strategy, European Union labour politics, off-shoring, industrial citizenship, posted work 

Recent Publications

Nathan Lillie and Anna Simola (2016) “The Crisis of Free Movement in the European Union,” Mondi Migranti 3: 7-19.

Nathan Lillie (2016)The Right Not to Have Rights: Posted Worker Acquiescence and the European Union Labor Rights Framework,” Theoretical Inquiries in Law, 17(1): 39-62.

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

Chenchen Zhang and Nathan Lillie (2015) “Industrial Citizenship, Cosmopolitanism and European Integration,” European Journal of Social Theory

Lisa Berntsen and Nathan Lillie (2015) “Breaking the law? Social dumping in a pan-European labour market,” in Market Expansion and Social Dumping in Europe Magdalena Bernaciak (ed.) Routledge.

Lisa Berntsen and Nathan Lillie (2015) “Hyper-mobile migrant workers and Dutch trade union representation strategies at the Eemshaven construction sites,” Economic and Industrial Democracy, DOI: 10.1177/0143831X14537357.

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

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

Greer, Ian, Zinovijus Ciupijus, and Nathan Lillie (2013) “The European Migrant Workers Union and the barriers to transnational industrial citizenship,” European Journal of Industrial Relations, 19(1), pp. 5–20.

Ines Wagner and Nathan Lillie (2013) “Institutionalismus und territoriale (Dis)Integrität in der Vergleichenden Kapitalismusforschung: Arbeitsbeziehungen auf der Baustelle der Europäischen Zentralbank” in Bruff, I., M. Ebenau, C. May & A. Nölke (eds.)  Vergleichende Kapitalismusforschung: Stand, Perspektiven, Kritik Münster, Westfälisches Dampfboot, pp. 133-147. 

Nathan Lillie (2012) “Subcontracting, Posted Migrants and Labour Market Segmentation in Finland,” British Journal of Industrial Relations, 40(1), pp. 148-167.

Nathan Lillie and Markku Sippola (2011) “National Unions and Transnational Workers: the Case of Olkiluoto 3, Finland,” Work, Employment and Society, 25(2), pp.1-17.

Teaching (list of courses)

Migration and the Life Course: A Collaborative Course with Tallinn University

YKP Maisteriseminaari I ja II

Johdatus yhteiskuntapolitiikan maisteriopintoihin

Vertaileva sosiaalipolitiikka

YKPS3102 Migration Policy