Migrant rights protection

Migrant rights protection through training and knowledge enhancement of Trade Unions

The ILO, Sri Lanka under its Safe Labour Migration Project (Phase IV) jointly with the HELVETAS, Sri Lanka conducted a consultation on “training manual and tool-kit development” for the trade union members on 12 August 2022. A fruitful discussion was held with the active participation of 15 trade union members.

Discussion with Trade Union members on developing training manuals and toolkits, Colombo, Sri Lanka. © ILO/N. Bandara 2022
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (ILO News) - The International Labour Organisation’s Safe Labour Migration Project (Phase IV) supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation operates with the wider objective of “ensuring safe, orderly and regular migration for all women and men”. Under the first outcome of the project, it is expected to capacitate the Trade Unions to engage in the district, national, regional, and global dialogues on the governance of safe and regular labour migration.

In line with this outcome, it is planned to develop a training manual and a training tool-kit for the use of training purposes and knowledge enhancement of trade union members. Hence, seven trade unions working on migrant rights protection were invited to this consultation and it was remarkable to see the active participation of female trade union members (one leader and seven other officers) at this consultation.

The inputs and suggestions of this consultation will be considered at the development stage of the training manual and the tool-kit. The topics consulted during the workshop were:
  • Governance of migration (legal, policy, and institutional frameworks)
  • Welfare and well-being of migrant workers and family members; and
  • The role of trade unions in the sphere of labour migration in Sri Lanka.
The seven trade union leaders who work for migrant workers’ rights protection were appointed as an advisory committee to guide the ILO and HELVETAS in this regard.

Training modules and tool-kit development of this assignment are handled by HELVETAS, and the suggested modules were presented to the participants to obtain feedback. The listed topics were presented at the discussion which will be further reviewed and altered based on the feedback received from the trade union members with their extensive experience in the labour migration arena.
  • An understanding of labour migration in Sri Lanka
  • Labour migration governance in Sri Lanka
  • Issues faced by migrant workers throughout the migration cycle and roles, responsibilities, and services of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE)
  • International commitments on labour migration towards the protection of the rights of migrant workers
  • Social protection
  • An introduction to gender, ethnicity, geographical diversity, child protection, disability, religious diversity
  • Skills development of migrant workers
  • Financial Literacy
  • Organizing migrant workers
Presentation by the trade union members, Colombo, Sri Lanka. © ILO/N. Bandara 2022
This discussion was held as the first step in identifying the prevailing knowledge gaps and training requirements of the trade union members and follow-up discussions and workshops are to be held as this task continues.

Through this initiative, ILO expects to train trainers from respective trade unions as master trainers with the aim of creating awareness for a wider audience on protecting the rights of migrant workers. The ILO looks forward to providing continuous assistance to strengthen the trade unions through its development initiatives.

Capacitating trade union members for migrant rights protection, Colombo, Sri Lanka. © ILO/N. Bandara 2022