3 – 4 – 5 March
In this edition of Reshaping Work Onward, organised by the Global Labour University, trade unionists, scholars and activists participated in an exciting discussion on labour migration and organising.
While the free movement of goods and capital has been widely advocated by mainstream economists and politicians as a way to promote progress, there has been much less enthusiasm about allowing the free movement of people with full respect for their rights as workers. This has contributed to making migrant workers vulnerable. Trade unions have played a key part in protecting these workers, even in the face of deliberate attempts by capital to divide and rule. Unions have however not been immune to anti-migrant sentiments, have shown at times reluctance to organise migrant workers, or struggled with finding the most effective organising strategy.
The protection of migrant workers by trade unions is all the more important in the context of neoliberal trends that exacerbate the global nature of labour markets combined with right-wing anti-migrant policies. It is therefore important to create space for an open engagement on the complex challenges facing migrants, trade unions and activists, as well as on positive examples of responses to changing migration patterns, whether in the area of innovative forms of organising; or the development of transnational trade union networks.
The workshop discussed the challenges posed by changing migration patterns, as well as union and civil society responses to these challenges in order to build stronger and more inclusive organisations.
Read the post-event discussion report here. https://onward.reshapingwork.
14:00 – 15:30 CET: Plenary Session: Situating migration in global labour transformations
Chair: Mark Anner, PennState / GLU
Neoliberal capitalism and migrants – Praveen Jha, Jawaharlal Nehru University / GLU
Migrant organising as a pathway to union renewal: Experiences from east and southeast Asia – Michele Ford, The University of Sydney
How trade unions fight for migrants – and what we can do better? – Chidi King, ITUC
14:00 – 15:30 CET: Plenary Session: Organizing migrant workers: Trade union initiatives and challenges
Chair: Clair Siobhan Ruppert, CUT / GLU
Protecting migrant workers in Tunisia: A trade union-led approach – Zoubeida Nakib, UGTT
Organising workers within the Germany-Philippines bilateral labour agreement on nurses – Herbert Beck, Ver.di and Jillian Roque, PSLINK
Organising migrant construction workers in Qatar – Ambet Yuson, BWI
14:00 – 17:30 CET: Plenary Session: Migrant self-organizing and civil society partnerships
Chair: Martina Sproll, Berlin School of Economics and Law / GLU
Beyond ‘integration’: Migrant self-organizing inside and outside traditional unions – Gabriella Alberti, Leeds University
El Ejido 20 years later: Lessons from organising migrant workers in agriculture – José Antonio Moreno Diaz, Comisiones Obreras
The role of immigrant workers on revitalizing the labor movement – Yanira Merino, LIUNA & LCLAA
Closing Session: What’s next?
Chair: Nicolas Pons-Vignon, SUPSI
With the participation of Ambet Yuson (BWI), Mostafa Henaway (IWC), Sara Cullinane (Make the Road), Elisabeth Tuider (University of Kassel, Irene Peano (University of Lisbon), Helen Schwenken (University of Osnabrück) and Joel Odigie (ITUC-Africa)
The Global Labour University (GLU) is a network of trade unions, universities, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the ILO (International Labour Organisation) to deliver high-level qualification programmes. The GLU is a new approach to increase the intellectual and strategic capacity of workers’ organisations and to establish stronger working relationships between trade unions, the ILO, and the scientific community. Join to GLU Facebook Group
In preparation for the event, please take a look at our selected articles and video, based on the topic of migration.
Constructing an Anti-Neoliberal Analysis to Arrive at Truly Alternative Alternatives / Russian version
Can migrating women escape patriarchy? / Portuguese version / Spanish version
The Insufficient protection of Vietnamese domestic workers in Saudi Arabia
Migrant organising as a pathway to union renewal
Illegal and criminalised: undocumented Zimbabwean migrant workers as unfree labour in Witbank, South Africa
Protracted Displacement: Syrian Refugees in Turkey
Covid-19 and migrants in South Africa: solidarity or exclusion?
‘Carwasheros’ unionise in New York City: community-labour partnerships and the challenges of organising a runaway industry
Confronting job precarity in Spanish tourism: The rise of the hotel housekeepers
Rebuilding our Power: Organising Precarious Warehouse Workers in Canada
This documentary explores the context and events that occurred in southern Spain in 2000, when the town of El Ejido was rocked by anti-migrant violence. Migrant workers began to organise afterwards and, during the seminar, we will be hearing from worker representatives in a nearby region (Murcia) about their organising experience. For further information, you can also read this.