Multi-regional Trade Union Dialogue and Cooperation: Reinforcing Commitment and Fostering Action for Migrant Workers’ Rights

As a follow-up to the commitment of the six regional trade union confederations to defend, protect and promote the rights of migrant workers, this multi-regional trade union dialogue on labour migration identified good practices in implementation and developed a concrete plan of action for trade union collaboration going forward.

The challenges that trade unions face in protecting and organizing migrant workers are significant. As outlined in the ILO Report on Migrant Workers’ Rights to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, the absence of legal frameworks that support freedom of association and collective bargaining, especially in countries of destination, combined with language barriers, and lack of capacity within the labour movement to organize migrant workers, are among the reasons that require policy reform and improved cooperation within the trade union movement in both countries of origin and destination.

In 2018, six regional trade union organisations- the Arab Trade Union Confederation (Arab TUC), the ASEAN Trade Union Council (ASEAN-TUC), the South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC), the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa), the Trade Union Confederation for the Americas (TUCA),  and the Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation for Asia and the Pacific (ITUC-AP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), expressing their commitment to joint action and dialogue on the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers. This commitment was re-affirmed in 2023 when the signatories signed a new MOU.

During the two-day meeting, participants shared their knowledge and experiences in promoting a rights-based approach to labour migration with specific attention to the consolidation of best practices and lessons learned from implementation of the 2018 MOU. The objective was to also reflect on concrete steps taken so far, what have been common challenges and discuss what can be done better in the implementation of the 2023 MOU.