The conference aimed to articulate an approach to migrants involvement into TU matters and organising as well as to exchange best practices on migrants rights protection and combating social damping. The Conference was addressed by Sattar Mehbaliyev, President of AHIK.
The first plenary session featured ITUC presentation on the global TU policy and action towards migration issues and forced labour, key international documents and bodies as well as global campaigns on promoting migrants’ decent work and rights protection.
An overview of Azeri migration legislation approaches and regulations towards working migrants was offered by a representative of the state migration service.
The first group work session was aimed to identify difference and similarities in the legal framework of migration as well as problems faced by trade unions both on country and local level. Participants highlighted as key barriers: irregular status of migrants and mechanisms of their legalisation, language and culture, aggressive attitude of society towards foreign workers. Also some unions lack arrangements to officially recruit working migrants as members (seasonal and temporary work, undeclared labour. Also there are psychological aspects: migrants are ignorant of their rights, they trust recruiters (often unfair), are socially excluded, fear to lose their earnings and to be deported.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to national, regional and sectoral best practices and initiatives for working migrants. Bela Galgozi from ETUI made a key intervention on migration trends in EU and trade unions policy in this regard.
During the second group activity, participants made an attempt to outline an action plan and potential activities for youth structures in their organisations as well as some initiatives and recommendations for regional and international level. The key steps on the local level were identifying and localising working migrants, establishing community and informal contacts to learn migrants problems and ways for unions can help them out, cooperation with diasporas and other NGO trusted by working migrants in receiving countries. In sending countries there should be enhanced education activities on labour and migration legislation in the countries of destination and also on trade union affiliation opportunities. On the country level trade union centres should strengthen cooperation with migration authorities and come up with workers’ rights friendly legislative initiatives. Also, participants will seek to promote bi-lateral and inter-regional agreements between trade unions and also unified trade union passport initiative. Participants also made a commitment to make a campaign in social media for the migrants’ day on the 18 of December
The key message was that trade unions have to intensify their work towards labour migrants on all the levels, and youth structures have to make migration a priority.
The conclusions and recommendations of the conference will be presented at PERC Summer School on 6-7 of October by PERC Youth Committee.