The ASEAN Service Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC) joined the civil society organizations (CSOs) in urging ASEAN to promulgate a binding instrument for the protection of the rights of migrant workers including "non-discriminatory" national treatment for migrant workers as regards wages and working and living conditions.
This is one of the recommendations formulated during the latest ASEAN Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)-Trade Unions Consultation on Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers convened by the Task Force for ASEAN Migrant Workers (TF-AMW) on 12 May 2007 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The TF-AMW is a task force created by the Singapore Working Group on the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism to ensure a transparent and consultative process in the development of ASEAN policies regarding labour migration. The TF-AMW was established at a consultation held in Singapore in April 2006 and is composed of civil society organizations, trade unions, and migrant worker associations, including the ASETUC/UNI Apro.
The TF-AMW is committed to engage with civil society groups and trade union bodies to discuss the policies and issues raised in the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. In line with ASEAN’s Vientiane Action Plan, the TF-AMW will study and offer recommendations "for practical steps forward to implement the ASEAN Declaration by drafting an ASEAN Framework Instrument for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers".
Bros. Mohamed Shafie Mammal (UNI-MLC president and ASETUC General Secretary), Hashim Lobe (UNI-Apro Director for Trade Union Development), and Kun Wardana Abyoto (UNI-Apro Director for Telecom) attended the Consultation on behalf of the ASETUC and UNI Apro.
In a Statement formulated during the Consultation, the TF-AMW called for:
• The ratification of core ILO Conventions, ILO Conventions 97, 143 and 181 (concerning migrant workers) as well as the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families (UN CMW).
• The development of a binding instrument on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers which would contain practical, workable mechanism for solving cases of migrant workers facing difficulties, with uniform standards and transparent procedures in place to ensure quality response.
• The setting out of clear policies that provide for non-discriminatory ‘national treatment’ in both the conditions of work and their life outside of work of migrant workers
• The protection of migrant workers against any human rights abuse
• The setting out of clear gender-sensitive policies on migration and ensuring that Government practices towards migrants reflect these gender specific migration policies.
• The creation of a dependable, accessible and low-cost remittance system whether implemented by the private sector, trade unions and civil society organizations, or Government agencies.
In the same statement, the TF-AMW said that "a new deal is urgently required for migrant workers in ASEAN, based on a collaborative effort to develop and effectively implement a new ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers." It also said that "developing the ASEAN Framework Instrument must and will complement the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS)" since "labour mobility has increasingly become a component of integration as barriers are being removed to facilitate freer movement of capital, goods, services and technology."