2023 Migrant Day: ITUC-Africa recommends actions for better migration

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By Michael Oche

To commemorate the 2023 International Migrant Day, the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has highlighted actions it hopes would be taken by stakeholders to improve the conditions of migrant workers.

In a statement on Monday, ITUC-Africa general secretary, Akhator Joel Odigie highlighted challenges faced by migrant workers, especially from Africa.

“The migration journey is often marked by formidable challenges that migrants courageously face, particularly on the African continent. These challenges encompass multifaceted issues, from social integration hurdles to inadequate social protection coverage, labour rights violations and lack of legal protections” Odigie noted.

To lessen these hurdles, the ITUC-Africa General Secretary recommended some actions that will improve the conditions of migrant workers.

He noted that one of such actions is the need for African Union member states to urgently ratify the AU Convention on the Free Movement of People and pertinent International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions pertaining to migration.

He said, “Furthermore, we implore African governments to prioritise the protection of the rights of migrant workers in Bilateral Labour Agreements (BLAs), emphasising the significance of fair and equitable treatment within these agreements. BLMAs and other labour migration agreements and processes must prioritise securing women’s rights in migration and migrant women workers.

“To enhance better governance in labour migration, it is imperative to involve tripartite social partners, fostering inclusive decision-making processes that consider the perspectives of all stakeholders. Therefore, we shall continue to advocate for inclusive social dialogue processes that involve organised labour, migrant workers and other critical stakeholders.

“For nations intending to export labour, establishing Migrant Information Centres can serve as essential resources to provide guidance, support, and information to individuals embarking on migration journeys. It is equally vital that our governments dedicate attention to skills development and stay seized while ensuring that migrant workers have access to social protection and possibilities and support for redress in cases of infractions.”

ITUC-Africa has been a leading voice for improved rights of migrant workers and comrade Odigie said on this International Migrants Day, ITUC-Africa reaffirms its commitment to championing rights-based migration governance for shared progress and social justice.

“As organised labour, we shall continue to organise migrant workers and increase their voices and representation in the various labour migration governance processes,” he said

He said further, “in line with the Sustainable Development Goals outlined during the 2030 Agenda and the Africa Agenda 2063, we emphasise the urgency for people-centred and evidence-based solutions that empower individuals to remain in their communities or facilitate safe and dignified migration when necessary.

“The recent COP28 summit in Dubai underscored the imperative to address the impact of climate change on migrants. ITUC-Africa and other global trade unions advocate for inclusive partnerships that champion the rights of migrants, women, persons with disabilities, and communities. Furthermore, youth involvement is pivotal in shaping these discussions.”