The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) takes action to support migrant workers in Tunisia

With support of the ILO’s Integrated Programme on Fair Recruitment (FAIR), UGTT has assigned nine focal points on labour migration across Tunisia in the cities of Medenine, Sfax, Sousse and Tunis in a show of its commitment to fair recruitment and protection of migrant workers

Actualité | 9 janvier 2018
“True to its commitment, its activism and its struggle for the rights and dignity of all workers, including migrant workers, the UGTT, in collaboration with the ILO FAIR project, is launching its network of regional focal points for migrant workers in Tunisia …” stated Naima Hamammi, Deputy Secretary General, Head of the Arab, International Relations and Migration Department, of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT).

In a show of its commitment to fair recruitment and protection of migrant workers, UGTT has assigned nine focal points on labour migration across Tunisia in the cities of Medenine, Sfax, Sousse and Tunis. The designation of well-trained focal points in the regional offices will enable UGTT to be a first point of contact for migrant workers in Tunisia where they can receive assistance regarding their rights at work or be provided with accurate information about living and working conditions in Tunisia.

“This is initiative is consistent with the commitment of the UGTT to the protection of the rights of all migrant workers, as much for Tunisians abroad as foreigners in Tunisia” added Naima.

Realizing the changing migration trends in Tunisia, with migrants entering from the Maghreb region and from Sub-Saharan Africa, UGTT welcomed the collaboration with ILO to tackle the opportunities and challenges related to expansion of existing protection mechanisms to cover migrant workers in Tunisia and to promote the unionization of migrant workers in the country.

To support the regional focal points, the ILO and UGTT launched a series of capacity building workshops, the first of which was organized on November 16 and 17, 2017. The training of the regional focal points consisted of four complementary modules: trends in migration flows and labor migration governance; the role of trade unions in protecting the rights of migrant workers; the ILO’s general principles and operational guidelines on fair recruitment; and determining the roles and responsibilities of the focal points of the UGTT network.

“The aim is to equip the focal points with technical and practical skills in protecting the rights of migrant workers, but also to define with them in a participatory manner their role” said Zoubeida Nakib, manager of network of focal points at the International Relations and Migration Department of the UGTT.

Prior to the launch of the network, the FAIR project team and UGTT senior leadership conducted a set of introductory workshops with each of the four regional offices to familiarise the focal points with the project goals, sensitize them on key issues during the recruitment process, and to determine the types of services UGTT can offer to migrant workers.

The partnership with UGTT and designation of focal points comes as a result of strategic work over the past 18 months, which included the development of an action plan on migration in December 2016, and a series of dialogue sessions between UGTT members and migrant workers. In the final year of the project, FAIR will focus on the capacity building plan for the focal points and the focal points will begin delivering outreach activities and services to migrant workers in Tunisia.

The work was supported by the ILO’s FAIR project - a global initiative funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which has three principle goals: to establish fair recruitment corridors to prevent abuses and exploitation of migrant workers; to provide migrant workers with access to reliable information and enhanced services; and to conduct innovative research and disseminate knowledge on fair recruitment.

Gaining the support from Tunisia’s leading trade union UGTT is vital for the realization of these goals in Tunisia - one of the countries selected for pilot interventions under the FAIR project. The long-term aim of FAIR is the reduction in deceptive and coercive practices during the recruitment process and violations of fundamental principles and rights at work, as well as other human and labour rights, brought about through increased safe migration options, effective regulation of public and private employment agencies, and unscrupulous actors being held accountable for violations.