The WSM partners from South Asia have been advocating a joint position on labour migration, also through SARTUC, to get a collective bargaining on labour migration. Some progress is being made, as the Nepali newspaper My Republica reported this today:
With the aim of raising collective issues pertaining to labor migration and forming a common labor law to protect the rights of migrant workers from the region, officials from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have gathered in Kathmandu for the first time.
The government officials of the SAARC-member states and various stakeholders aim to set up a regional-level mechanism in order to assist in dealing with major labor migration issues.
Nepal had formulated a draft for setting up such mechanism after the 18th SAARC Summit that was held in Kathmandu. The member states of the SAARC during the summit had agreed to collaborate and cooperate for proper management of labor migration from South Asia.
The 18th SAARC Summit addressed the agenda of labor migration for the first time to bring a common labor law in the region to govern all the SAARC countries.
Speaking at an inauguration of the two-day long “Consultative Workshop on SAARC Plan of Action for Cooperation on Matters Related to Migration,” Minster for Labor and Employment, Deepak Bohara, remarked that Nepal and other SAARC countries are facing various kinds of challenges in managing the issues facing migrant workers despite their enormous contribution to the economy.
“Working condition and exploitation of our migrant workers in the destination countries are a matter of concern for the entire region,” said he, adding, “So, I would like to urge the SAARC member countries to come together to build a strong institutional mechanism and cooperative framework to deal with the problem.”
Executive Director of Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB), Raghu Raj Kafle informed that a SAARC Plan of Action would be formulated after intensive discussions on various issues during the conference. “The action plan will include major issues of migrant workers, including standard employment contract for migrant workers, minimum wages and ethical recruitment. However, the action plan will be implemented only after it is passed by the 19th SAARC Summit” he said.