Labour migration

Executive summary: migrant workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining

This executive summary outlines the key findings of the report on migrant workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining (FACB) are fundamental principles and rights of universal scope that should apply to all workers – including migrant workers. FACB rights make it possible to promote and realize a range of other rights, such as other fundamental principles and rights at work, good conditions of work, fair wages, and access to social protection. In other words, FACB are critical to all workers, including migrant workers, to achieve decent work.

This executive summary outlines the key findings of the ILO Report on Migrant Workers’ Rights to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, which supports efforts to fine-tune laws and regulations to promote migrant workers’ FACB rights. It depicts the special challenges men and women migrants face and clarifies the expectations from international instruments. It identifies the specific types of exclusions and restrictions that exist for the enjoyment of these rights by migrant workers and provides advice to surmount common practical obstacles to the full exercise of FACB rights at the workplace.

Building, among others, on the results of an ILO Survey on the perspectives and experiences of trade union federations around the world, the report provides a ground-level identification of the obstacles encountered and shares examples of good practices in promoting migrant workers’ FACB rights. It highlights the importance of cross-border trade union cooperation and networking to support migrant workers in the exercise of their rights.

The report calls for specific organizing strategies for women migrants depending on prevailing gender inequalities and sectors concerned. It encourages the development of robust state institutions, such as the labour inspectorate, and underlines the importance of accessible justice. The Report recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to promote and implement in practice the FACB rights of migrant workers.