Policy Briefing Papers

Ensuring Decent Work Standards for Migrant Workers in the Current Labour Market

The roundtable event was organised by MRCI in collaboration with SIPTU (Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union) and the Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid to examine strategies of how to include migrant workers within the broader struggle for decent work for low paid workers. The International Labour Organisations (ILO) framework of decent work was used to examine these issues. The ILO defines Decent Work as fair, progressive and sustainable work that delivers:

• Access to productive employment and income opportunities;

• Rights at work, particularly with respect to the core labour standards;

• Systems of social protection; and

• A voice at work through social dialogue.

Identified themes

The recession along with labour market and economic policies have led to a disproportionate impact on low paid workers and the most vulnerable, paving the way for the increase in precarious work. The following themes were identified as of particular relevance.

Deterioration of working conditions: The erosion of labour standards has led to an increase in precarious, poorly paid and insecure employment that in many cases cannot support households. Precarious work is on the rise and involves atypical employment contracts, limited or no social benefits and statutory entitlements, high degree of job insecurity, low wages and high risk of occupational injury.

Non-compliance: There is a progressive deterioration in working conditions and non-compliance with basic employment legislation. This is particularly prominent in sectors that are poorly regulated such as agriculture, restaurants, domestic work, cleaning and catering.

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