Our goals are clear: We’ll continue to defend rights of migrant workers, African trade unions declare

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– says amidst adversities, there is hope for migrant workers

By Michael Oche

Trade Unions in Africa have declared that their interest is the continuous advocacy for the protection of rights of migrant workers.

The declaration was made on Monday December 17th, 2023, during the opening of a 3 days meeting of members of African Trade Union Migration Network (ATUMNET) holding in Dar es Salaam.

“As a labour movement, our goals are clear: the actualisation of decent work for all, the promotion of safe and ordery migration, and the protection of migrant workers’rights through strong, independent workers’ organisation,” Comrade Tumaini Nyamhokya, President of Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) said in his opening address at the meeting.

ATUMNET which is under the supervision of the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) is Africa’s organised labour platform for coordinating workers’ participation in migration governance.

Comrade Tumaini Nyamhokya said amidst the various adversities faced by migrant workers, there is hope for improved working conditions, assuring trade unions continued advocacy for better working conditions.

“Our gathering here signifies a significant milestone in addressing one of the most pressing issues of our tme: the better governance of labour migration and the protection of the rights of migrant workers,” he declared.

The TUCTA president said migrant workers, especially women migrant workers face a myriad of injustices, from gender-based discrimination to exploitation and violence, both during their journeys and in destination countries.

He also highlighted that male migrant workers grapple with challenges, often resorting to iregular migration due to limited opportunities, exposing themselves to severe human rights violations,.

He noted that through collective and inclusive actions, trade unions firmly believe that these issues can be addressed.

He said trade unions understand the vital role of collective action in reshaping the narrative around migration governance, particularly in light of the challenges faced by migrant workers, especially women, who are disproportionately affected.

The theme of the ATUMNET Meeting is, “Contributng to better labour migration governance and protection of the rights of migrant workers through ìmproved social dialogue, trade union cooperation, and advocacy action,”

In his address, ITUC-Africa general secretary, Comrade Akhator Joel Odigie said the regional organisation will continue to engage governments within the continent for implementation of ILO standards that promotes rights of migrant workers.

According to him, ITUC-AFRICA will continue its advocacy for promotion of migrant workers rights