Public Services International (PSI) affiliates: SAMWU, NEHAWU, HOSPERSA, DENOSA, and NUPSAW, led the Culmination Conference of the PSI “Project on Decent Work and Social Protection for Migrant Workers” in South Africa. The project, implemented in 2014 to 2016, sought to promote access to decent work and social protection for migrant workers in the public services.
Participating in the conference were the local migrant organisation, the Migrant Workers Association of South Africa (MWASA), the Migrating for Work Research Consortium (MiWORC), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI), the African Diaspora Workers’ Network (ADWN) and the Department of Labour and the International Organisation for migration (IOM).
Highlighting the conference was the presentation of PSI’s No Recruitment Fees Campaign. The campaign seeks to abolish the charging of recruitment fees on migrant workers. PSI believes that all workers deserve to have decent work and social protection. No worker should pay in order to get work. Charging of excessive recruitment fees leads to migrant workers being entrapped in a cycle of debt, they fear joining trade unions and silently suffer exploitative and precarious working and living conditions. The PSI No Recruitment Fees Campaign will be rolled out throughout the year 2017.
Also presented in the conference were the ‘Passport to Worker and Union Rights in South Africa’, as well as the ‘Return and Reintegration Kit to South Africa: An Information Kit for returning Migrant Workers’. These information materials provide practical information for migrant workers on their rights as well as information to help them in their return and reintegration.
The conference was enriched with presentations, discussions and sharing of experiences and actions on the situation of migrant workers in South Africa, the challenges they face and what unions, government, international organisations and civil society are doing to address these challenges.
The conference concluded with the participants gathered together in a symbolic signing of the Manifesto for Fair and Ethical Recruitment.