Today, on International Migrants day, EFFAT joins the European trade union movement in stressing the importance to give migrants access to the labour market, as it helps to restore self-worth, shores up human dignity, encourages financial independence: all of them being key elements of integration and participation into their new communities.
In recent years, Europe has been experiencing a massive increase in numbers of people crossing our borders to seek protection from war, persecution, natural disasters and economic downturn in their own countries. Many of them risk their lives and those of their children and families in search of a peaceful and respectful environment to live in.
Migrants can make significant contributions to the development of the communities which host them, as many of them come with qualifications and skills, and they could particularly help filling the gaps of economic sectors which are actually facing a shortage of workers. This is the case of the “Fast Track” adopted in Sweden which provides a viable model of integration: The Government wants newly arrived immigrants in Sweden to quickly find a workplace that is relevant to the individual’s education and experience. At the same time, as there is a shortage of labour in many industries, these are now being helped with the provision of skills through the creation of fast tracks by the Swedish Public Employment Service and the social partners of the respective sectors, to make it easier for newly arrived immigrants to establish themselves in the labour market.
The role of trade unions in this process is paramount.
- Recruiting and organising migrant workers helps build union membership and make unions representative of increasingly diverse societies.
- Only a united workers’ movement that protects every worker will be strong enough to face the global economic pressures and fight precarious work.
- Trade unions are key to defend migrants against discrimination exploitation and abuse.
On this day Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT Secretary General said: “The wealth of EFFATs’ experience in welcoming migrant workers in its sectors agriculture and tourism must serve as a basis to establish long term solutions to the international migration crisis to the benefit of a prompt social and labour integration. Trade unions have a key role to play in reaching out migrant workers to provide them with information, advice, and support such as mediation and collective actions.”
ETUC PICUM Leaflet on Undocument Migrant Workers