International Migrants Day - Workers and Citizens call for a welcoming Europe

Refugees welcom chalkboard

(Press release - Brussels 18 December 2018) Today is International Migrant Workers Day (IWD) which marks the adoption, 28 years ago, of the United Nations Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and their families. No EU government has ratified it yet.

Against a toxic climate towards migrants and refugees in Europe, EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, has established a European network of workers who are involved in the reception of newcomers in Europe. These workers are: doctors, nurses, medical assistants, intercultural mediators, interpreters, asylum and migration officers, social and educational workers as well as border guards.  They provide services run by local or central government authorities, not-for-profit sector as well as increasingly by private companies, where working conditions are usually of lower quality and with little regard for the protection of the rights of migrants and refugees.  They want to do their job well with sufficient resources and within a human rights framework that provides them with much needed stability and clarity.

Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU General Secretary says “Whilst these workers operate in different administrative and cultural settings, they all face common challenges such: as low pay, understaffing, insufficient or inappropriate training not the least on international asylum right. They face a changing job content due to the ever-changing migration and asylum laws that increasingly clash with their initial training”. He adds “New laws that seek to criminalise migrants and those that seek to help them also negatively impact workers who are in charge of the reception, care and inclusion of newcomers in Europe.

The establishment of EPSUs Welcoming Europe workers’ network, last November, complements the ECI  #WelcomingEurope Initiative to engage the public and call upon the European Commission to  ban the criminalization of migrants and those that seek to help them (revision of the EU facilitation directive)