Capacity building

Tripartite cooperation between Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia on «Mobility of migrant workers in North Africa"

The Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) a tripartite subregional workshop on "Mobility of migrant workers in North Africa and protection of their rights" in September in Hammamet- Tunisia.

Press release | 28 September 2016
Tunisia (ILO News)- The Tunisian State Secretariat for Immigration and Tunisians Abroad/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) a tripartite subregional workshop on "Mobility of migrant workers in North Africa and protection of their rights: tripartite exchanges and cooperation between Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia", on 27 and 28 September in Hammamet- Tunisia.

Actively present in this workshop were representatives of relevant ministries, trade unions, and employers’ organizations, as well as resource persons and ILO experts.

Within the framework of the ILO project “Improving the Governance of Labour Migration and Protecting the Rights of Migrant Workers in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and Egypt (IRAM)", this subregional tripartite workshop aimed to reinforce collaboration, coordination, and exchange between the three countries targeted by IRAM on the mobility of migrant workers in North Africa and the protection of their rights.

In this context, Mr. Peter van Rooij, ILO Cairo Office Director, emphasized that the ILO believes that involving social partners as well as civil society organizations are essential to have bilateral/ regional agreements on migration that contribute to more organized movements of workers whose rights are protected. He recalled the importance of international standards and particularly the ILO standards in harmonizing efforts over labour mobility in the three countries (Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia), meanwhile staying open to all North African countries wishing to join such cooperative endeavours.

Peter van Rooij also stressed the importance to harmonize positions between the three countries during negotiations with destination countries, and confirmed the ongoing commitment of the ILO to technically support such a process.

From her side, Ms. Jenny Piaget, acting Head of Mission at the Swiss Embassy in Tunisia, confirmed the Swiss intention and commitment to support North African countries, by means of several programs including one related to migration. She confirmed that "Switzerland is trying to adopt a global approach to the issue of migration, with a preference for partnerships. It is not only seeking to better tackle the challenges linked to migration phenomena, it is also seeking to identify and reinforce the positive impacts of migration. In most cases, for instance, migrants contribute with their labour to develop both their country of residence and their country of origin".

As for Mr. Radhouan Ayara, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of Immigration and Tunisians Abroad, he declared that "this workshop shows that we are all aware of the significant challenges in the Arab region in terms of migration and the necessity to harmonize efforts and joint action to face them and overcome obstacles… today more than ever, we need to join hands and coordinate our positions and visions in order to be able to set up a healthy and efficient management of migration in connection with an approach that protects the human rights of all migrants".

A joint Programme of Action

The subregional tripartite workshop was characterized by a participatory dynamic in sharing experiences on labour migration in each country, and also in terms of dialogue around the facilitation of the mobility of migrant workers, supported by international expert panelists.

At the end of the workshop, the tripartite delegations of the three countries agreed on a joint Programme of Action that recognizes priority measures at the subregional level to initiate exchanges and cooperation in this field and provide a tangible content for such cooperation.

Representatives of the three countries proposed 14 priority measures for the subregion, dealing, among others, with social protection, dialogue and negotiations to guarantee migrant workers’ professional and social basic rights, training programmes on the rights of migrant workers, the cooperation and coordination between social partners, etc.

This workshop was organized in the framework of the project “Improving the governance of labour migration and protecting the rights of migrant workers in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and Egypt” (IRAM). Implemented by the ILO over four years (2014 – 2017) and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), this project aims to provide national constituents with the capacity and tools to draft and implement coherent rights-based and gender sensitive labour migration policies and strategies. This is done through a highly participatory consultation process with social partners and civil society organizations.

The participating delegations were composed of representatives of the following partners:

Egypt: The Ministry of Manpower, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the Ministry of State for Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates’ Affairs, the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress (EDLC), the General Trade Union for Building and Wood Industries Workers, the Federation of Egyptian Industry, and the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

Morocco: The Ministry in charge of Moroccan Residents Abroad (MCMREAM), the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs (MEAS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC), the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Competences (ANAPEC), Morocco Labour Union (UMT), Democratic Labour Confederation (CDT), Democratic Labour Federation (FDT), General Workers’ Union of Morocco (UGTM), General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, - the State Secretariat of Migration and Tunisians Abroad, the Ministry of Social Affairs – the Social Security Department, the Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment, the Office of Tunisians abroad (OTE), the National Observatory of Migration (ONM), the National Agency of Employment and Self-Employment (ANETI), the Tunisian Agency for Technical Cooperation (ATCT), the Labour General Union of Tunisia (UGTT), the Industry, Trade and Artisanal manufacturing Union of Tunisia (UTICA).