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Resolution 36: Migration and Discrimination

30 November, 2012

The 29th World Congress of Public Services International (PSI), meeting in Durban, South Africa, on 27-30 November 2012

 NOTES that Migration throughout the world is increasing. In the past 25 years the number of people moving to another country in the world has doubled and is now about 200 million. Europe itself is a clear example that the knowledge, labour and diversity that has come here has had great significance for growth and development. Human migration is a fundamentally natural process. It imposes high demands on our societies to enable good integration and rapid routes to employment.

NOTES ALSO that The reasons for a person's migration may be many and complex. It may be a matter of a low standard of living in general, but also of a non-functioning rule of law or political oppression, of persecution on religious, cultural or ethnic grounds, sexual orientation, of war and unrest in the home country, but most often it is a matter of finding a job to provide for oneself and one’s family. A job that does not exist in the home country or a job that does not provide a living wage. Migration involves great challenges for the people who move. It is not unusual for them to be exposed to various types of discrimination such as low wages, the lack of an employment contract, long working days or simply being swindled in the country they move to.

NOTES FURTHER that Trade unions play an important role in ensuring that migrant workers’ rights are respected. This trade union role must be fully recognised at both national and international level. Trade unions must work to increase the level of organisation among migrant workers. Organisation of migrant workers into trade unions reduces the risk of exploitation and reinforces workers’ strength and negotiating position, helps to deepen social cohesion and contributes to building fairer societies.

FEARS that The principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination in working life, which form the core of the ILO decent work agenda and which must be a cornerstone in all migration policy, are ignored by many states in the world. The absence of these principles creates injustices and exploitation of migrant workers and creates conditions for downward pressure on working conditions for all workers, which in turn often leads to migrants being seen as a threat rather than an asset.

The cuts to public services and the economic uncertainty create fertile ground for the politics of division, and for some to blame unemployment on migration and immigration and not the financial collapse and the cuts in public services.

CONCLUDES that We can never accept that competitiveness is created through lower wages, worse working conditions, over-exploitation of the environment and a lower standard of welfare. We will work in support of more countries endeavouring to reach the top instead of the opposite, allowing the possibility of development and fair distribution.

CONCLUDES ALSO that Human and trade union rights are universal, indivisible and individual. It is not acceptable to have religious or cultural exceptions.

SUPPORTS The PSI in its work to maintain workers’ rights in international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

ENCOURAGES Contacts between affiliates when temporary or major migration flows are discovered, to create the best possible conditions in the recipient country.

EXHORTS The PSI member organisations to intensify the work of demanding ratification of ILO Conventions 97 and 143 on migrant workers, and the 1990 UN Convention on migrant workers and members of their families.

FURTHER EXHORTS The PSI and its affiliates to ensure compliance with international agreements to protect workers against exploitation and social dumping and protect workers’ health and safety.

ALSO EXHORTS PSI affiliates to make further efforts to organise these workers.

ALSO EXHORTS The PSI and its member organisations to work more vigorously to free the workplace from xenophobia and all forms of discrimination and oppression, as well as to build alliances and to campaign with local communities and trade unions to fight the far right.

DEMANDS that The ILO labour standards must be incorporated into international trade agreements and regulations.

DEMANDS FURTHER that All labour is paid in accordance with laws and collective agreements that regulate the labour market of the country of work regardless of whether the work is only for a fixed term or not. People arriving in a new country to work shall not be discriminated against but have the same rights and obligations as everyone else in the country. This is a fundamental principle.

See all Congress resolutions including the Program of Action and the Constitution.


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