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Resolution 37: Ethical International Recruitment

30 November, 2012

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

WHEREAS PSI has been an early and active leader among global unions in developing effective campaigns to support the needs and rights of migrant workers. PSI’s international campaign on migration and women health workers generated important new insights on the push and pull factors influencing international migration trends and helped document the impact of migration on health service delivery in source countries. Importantly, the campaign also identified cross-border union strategies to support informed decision-making among migrant health workers. This foundation provides a valuable platform from which to continue advocacy for worker and patient rights within a migratory labour context.

WHEREAS the precarious legal and work eligibility status of migrant workers makes them vulnerable to exploitation and increases their need for proactive union defence and support. For-profit international recruitment agencies operate with virtually no regulation in the current global market, and far too many migrant workers suffer dramatic and reprehensible abuse at the hands of unethical recruiters.

WHEREAS private recruitment and staffing agencies have helped to accelerate migration trends and contributed to the privatization of public jobs and services. They have found new ways to extract private profit from public systems by collecting exorbitant fees from employers and/or migrant workers themselves.

WHEREAS in the absence of effective government regulation of recruitment agencies, unions must seek alternative channels to establish standards for ethical international recruitment and to monitor recruitment practices. One such model is the development of voluntary codes of practice through multi-stakeholder negotiations that include the voices of employers, recruiters, unions, and migrants themselves. Although limited in their enforceability, such codes can be valuable tools for identifying best practices and shoring up behaviour through increased scrutiny and accountability.

This Congress therefore RESOLVES that PSI:

  • ENCOURAGE affiliates to take a leadership role in the development at national level of standards for the ethical international recruitment of health and other public service workers and seek all available means to monitor and enforce those standards;
  • SUPPORT efforts to expose abuses of migrant workers’ rights and spread the word about unethical agencies within the international recruitment industry;
  • ENCOURAGE affiliates to actively organise migrant workers into and within their unions and support and defend issues of concern to those members;
  • CONTINUE to track international migration patterns and recruitment practices in order to assess the impact of these trends and guide the development of effective union policy and advocacy; and
  • PROMOTE solidarity and cooperation between PSI affiliates in sending and receiving countries in order to better represent and defend migrant workers and amplify the call for secure jobs and quality public services in all countries.

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


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