Promoting trade union cooperation on labour migration in origin and destination countries
- Responsible Organisations: International Labour Organization (ILO) (International Organisation); South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC) (Trade Union)
- ILO Regions: Arab States; Asia and the Pacific
- Thematic areas: Strengthening workers' and employers' organisations
- MLFLM: 2.; 6.
In the framework of ILO's SDC-funded project on 'Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh', assistance was provided to the South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC) for its affiliate organisations to engage with partners in the Gulf States and Jordan. This effort was coordinated with the ILO Regional Offices for the Arab States and Asia and the Pacific with logistical assistance from the ILO Country Office for Nepal. Leadership level meetings held in 2013 with a view to strengthening and broadening cooperation on labour migration resulted in a collective review of the impact of recent and ongoing trade union action on protecting migrant workers, with a particular focus on the Gulf States. The meetings resulted in the elaboration of a detailed Plan of Action. In light of the Plan of Action, SARTUC members in different countries lobbied their foreign ministries and the Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for the inclusion of the issue of labour migration in the agenda of the 18th Summit of the SAARC. These efforts built on ILO advocacy with the SAARC and ensured the inclusion of four demands in the Declaration of the 18th SAARC Summit. The demands relate to migrant workers' protection in the following areas: (1) minimum wages and benefits; (2) social security; (3) gender equality; and (4) the migration process. If used together with the SAARC Social Charter, the Declaration now provides a legitimate basis for civil society organisations to bring up issues concerning labour migration in SAARC processes.