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Put 'Decent Work' At Centre Of Migration Policies

Putting 'decent work' at the centre of migration policies

"In their home countries, it is very often the shortage of decent work that forces workers to emigrate, so they are not doing it out of choice but as a means of survival. In the host countries, however, these migrants are mainly caught up in the most insecure, arduous and degrading forms of work, that is, the least 'decent'. The issue of decent work therefore needs to be at the centre of policies related to migration", stated Guy Ryder, ITUC General Secretary, on the eve of International Migrants Day.

The ITUC is bringing out a new 20-page report on the violations of migrant workers' rights in the Middle East region, with interviews and articles focusing on Jordan, where the textile union is providing practical help to Asian migrants. Also today, the ITUC is publishing an accompanying new video entitled "Migrants in Jordan: How the unions plan to protect and organise them"

Since its foundation last year, the ITUC has prioritised its action on defending the rights of migrants, improving their working conditions and organising them in trade unions, partly through collective bargaining. The ITUC is particularly stressing the need for measures to take into account the gender dimension, since women migrant workers represent an increasing proportion of the migrant workforce and are particularly vulnerable to discrimination.

The unions have been putting pressure on the governments of the departure and host countries to integrate this rights-based approach to migrant workers at national level, in both bilateral and regional agreements, and to harmonise their work at international level. The international trade union movement has been pointing to the existing ILO and UN legal instruments whilst calling for a new Convention specifically aimed at protecting domestic workers. This particularly vulnerable group includes many migrant workers throughout the world, who are too frequently exploited.

The ITUC is also committed to fighting discrimination, racism and xenophobia at all levels, including in trade unions. As part of its efforts to strengthen South/South solidarity, the ITUC has launched three partnership agreements between affiliates in different regions. These three pilot projects involve Indonesia and Malaysia, Senegal and Mauritania, and Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Information and support centres for migrant workers have been set up in Malaysia by the MTUC, in Mauritania by the CGTM, and in Costa Rica by the CTRN, and other affiliates plan to do the same, with a view to assisting migrants' integration in their workplaces and the community.

"Governments must ensure that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include the eradication of poverty through the provision of decent work and quality public services, is not compromised by migration policy", the ITUC maintains, alluding to the problem of the brain drain from developing countries. "Within the framework of the trade union campaign for a fairer and more humane globalisation, linking migration and sustainable development is also key to promoting decent work for all workers, including migrant workers," concluded Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the ITUC.

You can download this 20-page report, including interviews and photos, here

Founded on 1 November 2006, the ITUC represents 168 million workers in countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates.


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