Labour migration

Pacific regional meeting on labour mobility sets path for partnership

Dialogue strengthens collaboration between trade unions and employers to help ensure safe and regular migration.

Press release | Nadi, Fiji | 11 July 2023
Employer and worker representatives from across the Pacific in discussion at the workshop. © ILO
Nadi, Fiji (ILO News) – Workers’ and employers’ organizations from across the Pacific have met in Fiji to address labour mobility challenges, opportunities and priorities in the region.

The regional coordination meeting for Pacific Workers Organizations and Employer and Business Membership Organizations on Labour Mobility took place from 4-6 July 2023. Twenty participants from 11 Pacific Island Countries took part.

The inclusive and participatory discussions held will help enhance collaboration and coordination between workers’ and employers’ organizations in the area of labour migration, in order to increase protection for migrant workers and harness the benefits of labour mobility for all parties involved. The meeting recognized the key role that workers’ and employers’ organizations play in labour migration governance, policy and programme development as well as worker support.

In her opening remarks, Mele Amanaki, Representative from the Pacific Islands Council of Trade Unions (PICTU), stressed the importance of partnerships and social dialogue, saying "We cannot do without each other; we complement each other." Trade union representatives also stressed the importance of fair treatment of migrant workers, grievance mechanisms, and ensuring workers are aware of their rights.

Howard Politini, Chairperson of the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO), highlighted the need for public-private partnerships and the inclusivity of stakeholders involved, including workers, employer representatives, and government to ensure well designed labour mobility programs that contribute to national social and economic objectives, both in the immediate and longer term. He emphasized the need for social dialogue between employers and workers organizations both within the Pacific as well as with counterparts in countries of destination for Pacific Island workers.

Joanna Spencer, Development Advisor at the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, "There have been pivotal moments during this event where we have been able to see synergies in working together at a national level and regional level."

As a result of the meeting, PICTU and PIPSO have agreed to prepare a joint statement outlining their shared priorities and plans for strengthened dialogue relating to labour mobility. This will help support engagement with various Pacific Islands labour mobility initiatives relating to both Pacific migrant workers travelling out of the region, and migrant workers travelling into the Pacific.

The event was facilitated by the ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries with support from the ILO’s Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV), Bureau for Employers Activities (ACT/EMP) and the Labour Mobility for Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience in the Pacific' project, sponsored by the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF).

Representatives of employers' and workers' organizations from across the Pacific took part in the workshop, Nadi, Fiji. © ILO