From Migrant to Worker

30 September 2019 13:27


BWI’s global migration campaign and, in particular, its implementation in Asia is featured in a new book written by Michele Ford, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre of the University of Sydney.

The book, which is entitled, “From Migrant to Worker: Global Unions and Temporary Labor Migration in Asia,” examines the role of international trade union organizations in seven countries----Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand---in reaching out to and organizing temporary migrant workers in several sectors.

Featured in the book is BWI’s regional migration project, which began in 2005, brings together BWI affiliates in countries of origin (India, Nepal, Indonesia, and the Philippines) and countries of destination (Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Bahrain) to:

  • help migrant workers organize into trade unions;

  • advocate rights-based policies for migrant workers (at national, regional, and global levels);

  • provide essential services for migrants in distress;

  • develop and strengthen national and regional networks; and

  • build alliances with civil society and migrant rights organizations.

As quoted in the book, Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI stated, “In our industries, there is a long tradition of exploiting migrant labour from lower-waged economies. Migrant workers are often under-paid and not covered by social and labour legislation. Such precarious employment undermines the efforts of BWI affiliates to maintain and improve national standards. For that reaction, BWI and its affiliates are focusing on organizing on temporary migrant workers, regardless of their legal status under the banner of ‘equal pay, benefits and conditions for equal work’.”

According to Professor Ford, BWI is the GUF most uniformly engaged in advocacy, servicing, and organizing temporary migrant workers in Asia. She writes that, “The BWI is most involved in migration in Asia, as indeed is the case globally.”

For details on how to order the book published by Cornell University Press can be found here.