There are 1,2 million migrant workers in South Africa, representing 4% of the labour market, The majority of these are from the region and are employed in precarious and low incomes sectors such as domestic work, agriculture and construction (Statistics South Africa 2012). Although the national Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has articulated a broad and inclusive vision for organizing workers, including migrants, in reality migrant workers, and more so migrant women remain amongst the most poorly protected in the labour market with disproportionate numbers being self-employed, in informal work or in vulnerable sectors of employment (Budlender 2014; Fauvelle Aymar 2014). Moreover, a unionisation rate in the country at 29% amongst all workers, which is already alarming, slips to just 12% amongst migrant workers (Budlender 2014: p32). This underlying precarity can be attributed to three interdependent factors: an insecure legal identity resulting from narrow provisions for entry and stay for low skilled regional workers, a weak labour movement that has seen increasing fragmentation and finally a national context fraught by persistent unemployment and xenophobic attitudes, and violence and rhetoric toward non-nationals in the country.
This programme of work is animated by this reality and the broader principles of social democracy. Unions have a key role to play in the protection of workers, including vulnerable groups such as migrants. However, little attempt has been made for sectoral interventions in South Africa that would improve awareness and access to labour rights for migrant workers in the country. At the core of the constraints to organising migrants is a deficit of strategies and tools to achieve this. As part of a consultative and participatory process, we invite you to the first in a series of workshops on migrant workers.
The objectives of the first workshop are:
The African Centre for Migration & Society and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is pleased to invite you to a workshop titled Migrant workers in the South African hospitality sector: A consultative training workshop on organizing strategies and tools.
Date: Thursday 6 April 2017
Time: 9:00 to 13:00
Venue: Emthonjeni Centre Seminar Room, University of the Witwatersrand, East Campus
To RSVP and for more information, please contact info(at)migration.org.za