By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the National Trade Union Network on Migration (NTUNM) has called for the protection of the rights of African migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Mr Abubakar Yakubu, Chairman, NLC FCT Council who led a protest to the UAE Embassy on Tuesday in Abuja, condemned the maltreatment and abuses of Nigerians and other African labour migrants to the UAE.
A letter by Yakubu and Mr James Eustace, NTUNM Coordinator, called for the genuine reform of the Khafala sponsorship system being practiced in Gulf states.
The Khafala sponsorship system behold migrants to the employers who sponsored their visas.
According to Yakubu, we demand that decent wages and working conditions for African migrants, should be improved especially domestic workers.
“We also want them to be able to have access to justice where the rights of migrants have been violated; and for them to enjoy labour rights, including right to freedom of association,” he said.
The Chairman NLC FCT Council, however, decried the poor working conditions of African Migrant Workers, adding that UAE is the 5th largest migrant home with the highest rate of migrants in relation to its population.
“The objective is to ensure that the United Arab Emirates better guarantee rights to migrant workers in general and Africans in particular, better living and working conditions, protecting them from abuses and exploitations of crooked entrepreneurs and employment agencies and traffickers,” he said.
He further called for the removal of exit visa for migrant workers as well as the review of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) to include African Governments as partner members and not as “invitees”, and also for non-state actors (trade unions and C505) inclusion that is facilitated by the ADD.
He added that, on driving a fair recruitment, UAE should be concerned and demand that sending countries respect ILO provisions contained in Convention 181(Employment Agencies); Convention 97 (Migration); Convention 143 (Migration for Employment); and Convention 189 (Decent Work for Domestic Workers).
Yakubu also said that the protest would continue in all the GCC states to sensitise them against abuse and maltreatment of Nigerians, and other African migrant workers.
A copy of the protest letter was submitted to the Ambassador of UAE. (NAN)