Giving a voice to workers dealing with the reception of migrants and refugees

June 2018 meeting Med EPSU affiliates in Melilla Migration

EPSU establishes a European network to bring forward a workers’ perspective in the debate on migration and counter hostile climate against migrants

(27 November 2018) On 6 November 2018, EPSU established a European network of workers involved in the reception of migrants and refugees who flee poverty, persecution or both.

These workers are doctors, nurses, medical assistants, intercultural mediators, interpreters, asylum and migration officers, police officers, border guards, social and educational workers included.

They provide services run by local or central government authorities, not-for-profit sector and increasingly private companies.

Whilst these workers operate against different administrative, cultural settings, they all face common challenges such as low pay, understaffing, insufficient or inappropriate training not the least on international asylum right, changing job content due to ever-changing migration and asylum laws that can clash with their initial training. New laws that seek to criminalise migrants and those that seek to help them also impact negatively the workers in charge of the reception, care and inclusion of newcomers in Europe.

The network will seek to strengthen European links, support workers to uphold commitment to a public service of “hospitality” that respects the dignity of the migrant person in line with International rules on asylum and rescue of persons in distress.

In addition, it will provide a platform to discuss migration laws at national and EU levels, the role of EU agencies, Frontex and European Asylum Support Office, that has been under much criticism lately in Greece. It  promote EPSU alternatives for an EU common, human-rights based, structured approach to migration and asylum as opposed to dehumanising measures of containment and outsourcing to third countries which have become the only point of consensus at EU level.

Initiated by EPSU’s Spanish and Italian affiliates, the network is open to all EPSU members.

See here UE CARE Statement, Palermo, adopted by the EPSU Executive Committee on 6 November : European  solidarity?  A  European  network of public service workers to welcome migrants in EN/FR/DE/IT/E/SV and RU.

The network came about following two meetings in Melilla and Palermo that put together 150 trade union leaders and workers involved  in the reception, care, or rescue of migrants, see detailed report of Palermo here in EN.

The network is complementary to other trade union activities such as the ETUC-led LabourInt that promotes the labour market integration of asylum seekers, PSI, as well as the International and European Transport Federations which represent sea workers.

It is also concrete contribution to the European Citizens’ Initiative We are Welcoming Europe which we encourage our affiliates to sign