CSOs, Africa, Asia Trade Unions brainstorm on labour migration governance Dec

Following the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the working class, especially in Africa, like-minds in the trade unions in Africa, her Asia counterparts as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) will meet in the second week of December 2021 to brainstorm on how best to protect migrant workers.

The group known as the African Trade Union Migration Network (ATUMNET) will be meeting in Dakar, Senegal and the participants are expected to look at new strategies as well as strengthening existing ones to improve labour migration governance.

A statement by ATUMNET secretariat said the meeting is part of the group continuous move to build the capacity of trade union organisations in Africa on better engagement skills around labour migration.

The statement further said the two-day meeting would recalibrate African trade unions’ migration governance engagement in more focused and direct ways that would make them real and effective voices and champions for labour migration governance in Africa.

The Network also said “COVID-19 adversely affected migrant workers in several and hard ways, which includes losses of jobs and incomes; exposure to infection without or limited personal protection equipment; stranded and locked away from families and loved ones during the various lockdowns imposed, as well as being unable to renew expired visas and other work and travel documents.”

The meeting which has the theme,‘Migration in the times of COVID-19: African Trade Unions re- strategising to be more effective’ “will allow members of the network to gain new information, skills, and knowledge necessary for advancing their engagements.

“The meeting will enable ATUMNET members to undertake stocktaking and review of the implementation of the ATUMNET 2019-2021 Action Plan as well as to develop and adopt ATUMNET 2022-2024 Action plan.”

On why the trade unions were considering re-jigging their strategies, Deputy General Secretary ITUC-Africa Comrade Akhator Joel Odigie said COVID-19 “has pushed trade unions on the need to engage in sharper and imaginative ways if they are to make tangible and effective contributions to labour migration governance.”

He opined that specialisation in the areas of engagement is helping, adding that African

trade unions must focus attention on labour migration and the need for organised labour to have an authoritative voice on labour issues related to migration.

He further hinted that “African trade unions will be doing more to build a robust and effective alliance with other Non-State Actors across borders. This is why this meeting will be having more Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) participation.

“We shall also be having participants from allies in Asia and migrant workers themselves.”.