BWI champions labour rights for migrant workers at Global Migration Forum

06 December 2018 20:14

Delegates of the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) stressed the need for governments to recognise migrant workers’ right to organise and bargain collectively in a joint session with governments, CSOs and trade unions yesterday at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Marrakech, Morocco. 

“Governments should guarantee core labour rights for all migrants workers – women and men, regardless of status – with special attention on the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining, ensuring these rights are respected at all stages of migration,” said BWI Africa-MENA Regional Representative Crecentia Mofokeng. 

Mokofeng was addressing a session on ‘Exploring practices and partnerships’, stressing the need for people-centered policies should be promoted. A core focus of that session was the “Triple Win Project” in the Philippines, referring to bilateral labour agreements that successfully balance benefits between the country of origin, the country of destination and the migrant worker. 

The country of origin should benefit via employment opportunities and training for its citizens while meeting the country of destination’s labour market demands. In return the migrant workers enjoy decent and productive work on non-discriminatory terms, receiving training and recruited under fair recruitment practices, throughout the migration cycle. The case study presented was on a 2013 Bilateral Labour Agreement (BLA) between the Philippines and Germany that has resulted to the hiring of 640 Filipino nurses in Germany, with some 546 more health workers ready for deployment.

Public Services International (PSI) affiliate PSLink, represented by Jillian Roque, is part of the project’s monitoring team, highlighting the importance of involving trade unions and CSOs in BLAs to help ensure that migrant workers enjoy their right to unionise and other labour rights. The Triple Win project has been regarded as the “gold standard” for fair labour migration, and Germany has since entered into separate BLAs with other countries including Morocco and Kosovo.

The global trade union delegation at GFMD includes representatives from PSI, BWI, IndustriALL, ITUC, and the Solidarity Center. The BWI delegation is headed by Apolinar Z. Tolentino. 

The GFMD is taking place prior to the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration from 10-11 December. Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI will represent BWI at these governmental meetings.