Labour migration

Opening address at the ILO-ATUC Training Workshop for ATUC Focal Points on Migrant Labour

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the ILO-ATUC Training Workshop for ATUC Focal Points on Migrant Labour, Manila, Philippines, 12 December 2016

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 12 December 2016
  • Distinguished representatives of the ASEAN Trade Union Council (ATUC),
  • Resource speakers and training participants,
  • Brothers and sisters from trade unions and federations,
  • Colleagues from the ILO,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you!
First, let me welcome the international delegates and participants to the Philippines! It is an honour to have you here in Manila and I hope you enjoy the warm hospitality.

I am glad to also address and welcome you all to this ILO-ATUC Training Workshop for Focal Points on Migrant Labour. This training-workshop aims to enhance technical capacities to address issues and concerns of migrant workers.

Together, you will also discuss about current labour migration trends, challenges and opportunities in ASEAN. This is also an opportunity to examine rights-based approaches to advocacy and service delivery and to learn about ATUC’s regional complaints mechanism and database on migrant workers.

I am pleased to see the increasing and continuing collaboration between ILO and ATUC. The ILO, through ACTRAV and the recently concluded ASEAN TRIANGLE Project, have partnered with workers organizations to enhance capacities, to influence regional labour migration policies and to provide relevant services.

By working together, we have, among others increased the social dialogue participation of trade unions in ASEAN; crafted ATUC position papers and policy recommendations on various aspects of the ASEAN Economic Community and labour mobility; identified and provided trainings to labour migration focal points of ATUC members; developed the ATUC Information System on Migrant Workers; and signed an ATUC inter-union agreement on labour migration.

This week’s activity, supported by the ACTRAV-Turin, is a continuation of our partnership. It comes at a time when there is a growing recognition of the importance of an effective labour migration governance and the contribution of migrant workers to growth and development. This is reflected on international collaborative frameworks such as the ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration; the Sustainable Development Goals; the 3 ASEAN Community Blueprints (Economic, Socio-Cultural and Political-Security); and more specifically, the 2016-2020 ASEAN Labour Ministers Work Plan.

The need for effective and efficient trade union services for migrant workers become more urgent as labour movements within ASEAN grow in volume and complexity.

Migrant workers, especially those in the more vulnerable sectors, often have their basic human and labour rights restricted. Without adequate information about their rights and services available to them, they are susceptible to labour exploitation.

ASEAN migrant workers are still concentrated in sectors with inadequate labour legislation and administration – such as domestic work, and the fishing and agricultural industries. Migration costs remain high and may lead to situations of debt bondage. We are also aware that migrant workers are often less protected once they leave their home countries. Ensuring fair recruitment is vital to prevent abuses.

In line with this, the ILO is implementing the Integrated Programme on Fair Recruitment, or FAIR, to establish fair recruitment corridors, to provide reliable information and service, as well as to share knowledge on recruitment at the global and national level.

The FAIR Project will also help reduce, if not eliminate fees charged to migrant workers, particularly at the recruitment stage.

The project also intends to reduce deceptive and coercive practices during the recruitment process and violations of fundamental principles and rights at work.
National affiliates of ATUC in the Philippines are part of these ongoing initiative to address labour migration challenges in the country.

In 2014, ATUC leaders have adopted the Inter-Union Agreement to promote decent work. The agreement articulates ATUC’s framework for decent work in labour migration with twenty-three action points. The agreement instructs its affiliates to:
  • inform migrant workers about their rights and the general situation of sending and receiving countries, in languages of migrant workers;
  • organize migrant workers in order to ensure they join trade unions in receiving and sending countries, participate and obtain trade union protection;
  • encourage affiliated unions to integrate migrant concerns in collective bargaining with employers; and ensure that labour legislation and collective agreements fully protect all migrant workers,
  • establish centres for migrant workers;
  • develop joint measures to denounce abusive practices and provide legal remedies;
  • designate and build the capacities of ATUC labour migration focal points towards protecting of migrant workers;
  • build mechanisms for the protection of migrant workers, including Migrant Resource Centres and referrals systems;
  • cooperate in activities towards the building of the ATUC Information System on Migrant Workers for monitoring and crafting policies and interventions; and towards securing resources for these facilities.
Our activity today is intended to assist you in meeting these objectives. By the end of the workshop, I hope that all of you will be able to use the ATUC complaints mechanism and referral system, as well as the ATIS database on migrant workers. Your views and voices matter so we hope that this training will also serve as an opportunity to develop work plans to strengthen organizing and to extend social protection to ASEAN migrant workers.

We at the ILO look forward to our continued collaboration towards safer and fairer labour mobility in ASEAN. On December 18, we will be celebrating International Migrant’s Day. Let us dedicate this workshop as a pledge of commitment to contributing to the protection and promotion of the rights of all migrant workers.

Thank you as I wish you success and all the best!