“Clear demand to ensure that the UN GCM adheres to human and labour rights standards” – ITUC

  • May 24, 2022

Global trade unions have welcomed the good intentions of the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) but have criticised the forum’s weak commitments to labour standards.

The IMRF takes place three years after the adoption of the GCM and is comprised of UN member states, UN representatives, and stakeholder groups, including trade unions, to highlight successes and challenges in implementing its objectives.

However, the IMRF declaration on international migration governance for the four years to come misses a direct commitment to adhere to ILO core international labour standards, even though out of the 281 million migrants globally, 169 million are migrant workers.

Sharan Burrow said: “This declaration lacks a commitment to ensure freedom of association and the right to organise and collectively bargain, even though these are indispensable pillars to protect migrant workers’ rights and to ensure decent work for all.”

In their statement responding to the declaration, Global Unions highlight the call for:

  • a rights-based governance of migration with labour standards at the forefront;
  • respect for the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work;
  • a scaling up by governments of access to regular migration pathways, with full workers’ rights and non-discrimination, along with a commitment to combatting xenophobia and racism;
  • universal social protection;
  • granting migrants access to basic services, in line with universal health coverage and occupational health and safety at the workplace as fundamental rights;
  • universal minimum living wages to ensure decent jobs for migrant workers; and
  • the use of social dialogue to achieve mutual recognition of skills and qualifications in home and host countries.

ITUC Deputy General Secretary Mamadou Diallo, who is participating in the IMRF, said: “Trade unions have outlined since the very beginning a clear demand to ensure that the UN GCM adheres to human and labour rights standards.

“States must move beyond circular migration programs and put the focus on regularisation, humanitarian resettlement and sustainable development in countries of origin, transit and destination.”

The global union movement has contributed this report to the IMRF that illustrates the vital role of trade unions in defending and promoting the fundamental human and labour rights of all migrants, regardless of status.

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Photo: AFP Andrea Renault

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