Forum on Migration calls for networking and collective action
The Forum on Migration had a varied panel sharing the experiences and perspectives about the situation of migrants and interventions from Thailand, India, Sweden, Australia and the Caribbean. The well-attended forum also had representatives from Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA). The tone of discussions was set by the video exhibit on BWI Qatar campaign.
Dave Noonan, CFMEU-Australia, National Secretary Construction and General Division highlighted the exploitation of migrants in Australia especially with temporary visas (457 visa) who do not have any coverage under social security, unemployment benefits or health benefits. “Our union has taken up the issues of migrant workers and has passed a resolution to this effect and carried out strikes and demonstrations to uphold migrant workers’ rights. The union is opposed to temporary migrants especially those which bind workers to one employer”.
Per Olof Sjoo, GS-Sweden, Deputy Vice-President of the BWI, referred to the situation of migrant workers in Sweden both in construction and forestry sectors. The malpractices in recruitment, sham contracts impacting their working conditions and wages necessitate changes in the regulatory framework - “We have highlighted the issue of migrants through media and have been able to facilitate better rights for them, despite challenges”.
Khuntia concluded the forum by mentioning: “the problems for the migrant workers continue to exist but at the same time the unions are able to make a difference. We need collective actions involving all stakeholders and coordinated efforts in countries of origin and countries of destination”.
BWI Connect booklets were distributed in various languages to all the delegates.