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PSI welcomes this ILO Tripartite Technical Meeting on Recruitment, which places the discussion of labour recruitment, whether national or across borders, within the framework of international norms and labour standards. The objective of the tripartite meeting is to develop guidance to promote recruitment practices that respect the principles enshrined in international labour standards.
We will not elaborate on the problems surrounding unscrupulous recruitment practices, including the abuses that are perpetrated, as these have elaborated in background report of this meeting and the earlier interventions.
However, PSI would like to share an on-going good practice in international recruitment in order to show that application of norms and standards can lead to fair recruitment that realises rights and benefits for all.
The Germany-Philippines Bilateral Labour Agreement (BLA) on the Deployment of Filipino Health Professionals to Germany, signed in 2013, offers a good practice in fair recruitment. Implementation of the BLA is on-going and actively involves trade unions in its implementation.
The BLA is based on established labour market needs and supply; job descriptions are clear and agreed upon, there are clear work contracts, the arrangements provide for job preparation, including language training at no cost to the worker.
In the BLA, migrant Filipino nurses have full access to information, including information provided by trade unions and contacts to trade unions, right to social protection and social security arrangements, full access to workers’ rights including the right to join trade unions.
The agreement does not limit the worker to temporary work, which as we know can be exploitative and discriminatory on the temporary worker. It allows for a pathway to permanent migration and citizenship.
What is the pioneering feature of this BLA is the full and active participation of trade unions in the implementation and monitoring of the BLA. PSI affiliated unions, i.e. PSLINK in the Philippines and Ver.di in Germany, are part of the Joint Monitoring Committee of the BLA. They conduct monitoring visits and active dialogue is on-going.
With this example, we wish to show the importance of the role of government in the governance of labour migration, the importance of drawing bilateral labour agreements, as well multilateral labour agreements, with the support of the ILO. The ILO Decent Work Across Borders Project was invaluable in providing technical support in collaboration with the social partners in the implementation of the BLA.
While we caution on the over-emphasis on recruitment as an employment strategy and the associated risks in the proliferation of temporary and precarious work, we also recognise that labour migration can bring positive impacts when governed within the framework of human rights and full participation of workers and trade unions.
As what the BLA shows, norms and standards can be practical. We can build on these good practices in promoting fair recruitment for the benefit of all.
Thank you for your attention.
Background information on the meeting (ILO website)