Expo2020: BWI raises importance of migrant workers’ inclusion in social dialogue

In the week leading up to the International Migrant Workers’ Day, a BWI delegation took part in an event at the Swedish Pavilion of Expo2020 in Dubai, raising the importance of social dialogue to achieve a just transition to a green and resilient economy. 

In the opening remarks made by Anna Hallberg, Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs of Sweden and Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General OECD, the concept of the Global Deal platform was introduced. And how the platform is a tool to facilitate social dialogue in times of transition and the need to recognise the critical role of an inclusive social dialogue to achieve a resilient economy. 

In the panel discussion, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson raised how social dialogue needs to be supported to ensure that workers' voices are not heard otherwise, such as those of migrant workers. “The pandemic has shown that to create a resilient economy, we need to ensure that legitimate representatives of migrant workers are given the opportunity to engage with government and employers together in tripartite dialogue or separately in bipartite dialogue, particularly on working conditions and health and safety,” he said. 

In the second panel, representatives from unions, the private sector and the French Global Deal platform exchanged good social dialogue practices in times of transition. Marjorie Alexandre of the BWI-affiliated FO Force Ouvrière made a decisive contribution by asserting that social dialogue is always the first step of engagement. She said that if this is not respected, unions have to escalate to other means of industrial action. 

With examples from the Swedish workplace program, IF Metall International SecretaryJohan Järvklo and Scania President and CEO Christian Levin made the critical point that social dialogue should also have the end goal of reaching and signing agreements between the parties such as CBAs. 

Jean-Christophe Sciberras, Chairman for the French global deal platform, closed with the clear message that "workers and employers engaged in good social dialogue build a better world."