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Protection for Migrant Workers under ILO Standards

Migrant Aotearoa Press Release
24 March 2009

Group seeks protection for Migrant Workers under ILO standards

Migrante Aotearoa, a group of Filipino migrants in New Zealand, is appealing to the New Zealand government, employers and unions to uphold the principles embodied in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up (1998).

Dennis Maga, national coordinator of Migrante Aotearoa, says “We are seeking protection for migrant workers from unions and employers that enforce the policy to “get rid of migrants first.” Our call is for unions, employers and government to work on a fair and transparent process in selecting workers who will be redundant and not just based on their colours.”

“The ILO standards provide necessary guidance for national law and policy to ensure protection of migrant workers. Instead of fanning racism by making migrant workers scapegoats for job losses and attacking them for "stealing" jobs from locals, we hope that governments, employers and unions of host countries will recognise that migrants have rights too and decent jobs have no colour, the group stated.”

“In the face of the current recession, we understand that New Zealand immigration will likely enforce restrictions on the entry of overseas workers. But we expect unions and employers to also guarantee the rights embodied in the ILO standards of those currently working here who have made significant contribution to the New Zealand economy. We further urge the unions and employers to uphold migrants’ rights under the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Labour Cooperation between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines signed in 2008,” Mr. Maga stressed.

‘Article 3.f. of the MoA notes the cooperation between the NZ and RP governments to cooperate on human resource development including the promotion and protection of employment rights and obligations of migrant workers.’

“While local workers stand to benefit from government support when they lose jobs, Filipino migrant workers who paid an average of 8,000 – 10,000 NZ $ to work in New Zealand face bigger losses when they are the ones made redundant and forced to go home,” Mr Maga concluded.


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