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Workers' Digest
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Workers' Digest
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Workers’ Digest
Issue # 15
Special Release Issue
October 2008

For a paradigm shift away from labor
export to domestic employment
For a global movement of workers
to protect migrant rights and welfare

A funny thing happened on the way to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). While the excesses and essence of globalization has been exposed with the unraveling of the financial meltdown and economic recession in the US that threatens to go global, the framework of the GFMD remains firmly in the grip of the neoliberal agenda.

The Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party) as the independent political party of the working class in the Philippines, oppose the GFMD for its framework on migrant workers is “economic development” not human rights. Behind its stated goals of “maximizing remittances and the benefits of migration” is the opportunist attitude that migrant workers are commodities for sale not humans with rights. Among its participants is a preponderance of big businesses with interests in the remittances of migrant workers.

Just last week a Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia was killed by beheading while another Filipino migrant is scheduled for a similar fate in the coming days. What can the GFMD do to save migrants workers? The main problem it is trying to solve is how to profit from remittances not how to protect migrants.

It is not an exaggeration to say that labor migration today is the modern-day form of slavery. Five hundred years ago the age of mercantilism saw the heyday in the trade of human slaves. In the era of globalization, millions of workers cross borders in search of greener pastures or simply to survive in the face of joblessness and destitution in their home countries.

The pull of a substantial wage differential between the sending and receiving country is enough incentive for massive labor migration. That has of course resulted in significant transfers of wealth and token alleviation of poverty in the home countries. Yet the fact that millions of migrants are involved and the reality of lack of protection for basic worker rights and respect for labor standards results in so many victims of abuse.

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