Africa, Asia, Arab trade unions to strengthen cross-regional collaboration on migrant workers’ rights

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By Michael Oche

Strengthening of cross-regional collaboration between trade unions in both sending and receiving countries of migrant workers, to ensure effective enforcement and advocacy for migrant workers’ rights, will be a key focus of a 2-day meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

Lack of capacity within the labour movement to organize migrant workers, has been canvassed as among the reasons that require improved cooperation within the trade union movement in both sending and receiving countries.

The organisers say the meeting will allow for the sharing of knowledge and experiences in promoting a rights-based approach to labour migration, with specific attention to the consolidation of best practices and lessons learned from implementation of the 2018 MOU signed by trade unions from the six regions.

It is also an opportunity for trade unions to reinforce their commitment to fostering action for migrant workers’ rights.

The meeting scheduled to hold between December 2nd and 3rd will have participants from Arab Trade Union Confederation (Arab TUC), ASEAN Trade Union Council (ASEAN-TUC), South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC) African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa), Trade Union Confederation for the Americas (TUCA), Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation for Asia and the Pacific (ITUC-AP)

Our Correspondent reports that in 2018, six regional trade union organisations, Arab TUC), ASEAN-TUC, SARTUC, ITUC-Africa, TUCA, and ITUC-AP signed an MOU, expressing their commitment to joint action and dialogue on the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers.

In June 2023, the unions revised and renewed the joint MOU, where they also affirmed their commitment to the defence, protection, and promotion of migrant workers’ rights and prioritized 10 reviewed actions.

The actions included ratification and implementation of International Labour Standards, advocating for legislation, and enforcement of legislation, consistent with ILS; Empowerment of migrant workers; Contributing to the advancement of fair recruitment and advocating for improved and inclusive international cooperation.

Others are promoting the decent work agenda; contributing to responsive actions to structural crises; Effective social dialogue; Championing women migrant workers’ rights and advocating for data collection, analysis, and utilization.

At the end of the meeting, the organisers say they hope to have developed individual and a common action plan incorporating the lessons learned, and best practices shared.