Trade union solidarity and cooperation on migrants’ rights in the mediterranean

PSI affiliates prepare the MIGRANTMED project which aims at strengthening public service trade union solidarity, cooperation and capacity to improve the social and human rights situation of migrants in the Mediterranean.

Representatives of selected PSI affiliates from Spain, Malta, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine met in Amman, Jordan on 14-15 January 2013 for a partners’ consultation workshop in order to prepare the full project proposal to be submitted to the European Neighborhood Partnership Initiative (ENPI-MED), a facility funded by the European Union.

PSI, together with the lead partner, FP-CGIL (Italy) and project partners UGT (Spain), GWU (Malta), GTU Health (Jordan), GTUWHS (Palestine) and Kadisha Electricity (Lebanon) submitted a first-stage concept note during the ENPI-MED call for proposals in 2011. The concept note was successfully chosen and PSI and the project partners are now invited to submit a full proposal.

The project, “Trade Union Solidarity and Cooperation on Migrants’ Rights in the Mediterranean” (MIGRANTMED)” aims to strengthen public service trade union solidarity, cooperation and capacity to improve the social and human rights situation of migrants in the Mediterranean. “The MIGRANTMED project is a great opportunity for PSI affiliates on both sides of the Mediterranean basin to work together on a key issue such as migration,” says Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, who was present at the meeting. “Migration has always been in the history of the Mediterranean. It is a region enriched by the movement of people and the mix of cultures. Unfortunately, for many of those people who move, the experience has not been positive.”

The project will establish a trade union network consisting of PSI’s European and Arab affiliates promoting dialogue, doing capacity building and advocacy activities for migrants’ rights. It builds on the previous work undertaken by PSI and EPSU affiliates in the Euro-Mediterranean migration project, which was aimed at building the capacity of public service workers in promoting quality public services to migrants.

Ghassan Slaiby, PSI Sub-regional secretary for Arab countries, is enthusiastic on the project and the creation of the trade union network. “We can begin by working on the issue of migration. Sustained within PSI, the network can then be expanded to embrace a much broader scope, such as social, political and economic issues. It can serve as a vehicle for campaigning and cooperation among our European and Arab affiliates working on common issues,” says Slaiby.

While in Jordan, Pavanelli also held a meeting with the Jordanian affiliates representing the health and electricity sectors. The electricity union, GTUWE, is fighting against the privatization of electricity in Jordan. The union president, Ali Falah Al-Hadid, was arrested in a strike action last year, but was immediately released through campaign action and solidarity support from PSI.

The meeting also discussed on-going cooperation and projects, underlining the geographic and political importance of the Arab Sub-region in the current democratization process.