In this chapter the effects of ﬂexible employment on organised labour is discussed through the concept of fragmentation. Fragmentation effects refer to the redrawing of social relations in the workplace and in the labour market. It is argued that while fragmentation might be a chaotic concept, it does capture some key challenges to solidarity in heterogeneous workplaces experiencing restructuring and ﬂexibilisation. The tourism industry in general and hotel workplaces in particular represent spaces of work which have always been characterised by differentiation and social hierarchies. The combined effects of international labour migration and employer-driven ﬂexibility measures produce new fault lines in the workplace. I argue that for trade unions and others trying to establish effective worker representation and solidarity, the same processes that signal increased ﬂexibility to the employer, or increased personal social risk for the employee, might be experienced as fragmentation. Fragmentation is both a challenge to recruitment and to the union’s sustained organisational presence in the workplace. The chapter is structured in the following manner. First, the link between the well-established term ﬂexibility – as we know it from the sociology of work – and the related concepts risk and fragmentation is discussed. Here it is argued that different languages and conceptual approach also implies different vantage points. Second, I try to show the differentiated geographies of fragmentation, as they unfold differently across regions and on different spatial scales. The processes of fragmentation are multi-scalar phenomena, with effects stretching from internationalising labour markets to particular workplaces. Third, fragmentation in hotels is discussed speciﬁcally, both as a part of the wider tourism industry and as heterogeneous workplaces where management and recruitment techniques interweave with the practices of workers. What then, is the actual relationship between employer-initiated outsourcing and labour hire, on the one hand, and loyalties and divisions of the heterogeneous workforce in their encounter with managers, other workers, guests and trade unions? Lastly, given fragmentation refers to a set of challenges speciﬁcally affecting trade unionism and other forms of solidarity among workers, how can we understand workers’
responses to fragmentation? The chapter ends with a discussion of organised hotel workers, how they perceive fragmentation and how they can and should respond to the challenge.