Improving migrants conditions - what civil society must do

Civil society and the labour movement can amplify the demands of migrant workers.

Labour movement & civil society

Civil society and the labour movement can amplify the demands of migrant workers. 

Representing migrant workers:

  • Allow workers to join a trade union and include migrants in elections and negotiations,

  • Ensure that migrant workers are represented in collective bargaining agreements,

  • Civil society/labour organisations should not pursue/support policies that discriminate against migrant workers (e.g. migrant workers “first out” and “British jobs for British workers” were both trade union demands),

  • Ensure that information and research is done for the benefit of workers and is made available to migrant workers’ groups working directly on the issue.


  • Civil society/labour organisations should work with marginalised people who need their support most, regardless of pressure or criticisms that might be made of them.

  • Encourage trade union solidarity action with migrant workers along supply chains (e.g. transport unions could refuse to unload certain articles).

  • NGOs should shift priority to focus on basic rights of migrants rather than welfare.

  • Civil society/labour organisations should pressure governments and companies to respect workers’ rights.

 Information sharing:

  • Unions from sending and receiving countries should develop joint work on organising strategies and share information.

  • Research needs to be done on the whole supply chain: who is involved, the situation of migrant workers and working conditions, the brands being produced.

  • Research groups should work with migrant workers directly to ensure their work feeds into the movement for migrant workers’ rights.

  • Information should be shared with and between migrant worker organisations in different countries.