Action Alert: International Migrant Workers’ Day

Migrant workers make up a significant part of the workforce in construction and forestry and are vulnerable to exploitation because they often have very little access to economic, political and basic labour rights. They are mostly unorganised and without collective power to fight their exploitation and to demand fair value for their work and their fundamental human and trade union rights. 

Migrant workers in construction and forestry are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic because their poor living and working conditions provide an environment for the virus to spread rapidly. The situation is even more critical for those that are undocumented or refugees as they are without access to healthcare and social and economic support. In addition, the pandemic has disrupted migration flows, with thousands of workers stranded in foreign countries for long periods of time, thousands that were forced to return home abruptly and greatly reducing migrant workers being received in some countries. 

Join us!

The Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) are jointly commemorating International Migrant Workers Day on 18 December under the theme ‘We are all Migrants’

Join us to campaign for the protection of migrant workers in line with international human rights and labour standards and for comprehensive and integrated COVID-19 strategies that include migrant workers in national responses and social protection measures. 

Take action!

Specifically, we ask BWI affiliates to take action at national level, by writing to the relevant government ministries, issuing a media statement or organising an action (while observing COVID safety protocols), demanding, as appropriate to the local situation:

  • Recognition and respect of fundamental worker rights on freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining of migrant workers
  • Protection of workers from exploitation by recruitment and employment agencies.
  • Government and employers provide wage and job protection for migrant workers during the pandemic and an end to forced repatriation.
  • An amnesty should be put in place in countries to suspend arrests and deportations of workers that are undocumented workers or have work permit issues, to ensure that these workers are not exposed to risk and that they are able to access healthcare.
  • All people within national borders, including documented and undocumented migrants, must have access to food, healthcare, sanitation and housing to address human dignity deficits.
  • Ratification of ILO Convention 97 on Migration for Employment and Convention 143 on Migrant Workers to improve the access of migrant workers to rights.

Show solidarity!

To show solidarity at the international level, we ask that BWI affiliates: 

  • Take a selfie or a group photo (while observing health and safety protocols) with our campaign posters and post them on social media platforms. English Poster V1  English Poster V2  Spanish Poster  French Poster  Spanish Poster 2 French Poster 2
  • Use the campaign hashtag: #WeAreAllMigrants 
  • Print out the posters and post them at workplaces and other areas frequented by trade unionists and workers.
  • Use our poster as temporary Facebook profile photo on 18 December. 

For a copy of your demands, as well as reports and photos of your actions to BWI For more information, please coordinate with