MUA Joins Push For Govt To Sign Migrant Workers Convention

The Maritime Union joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions and others in the push for the Australian Government to sign the Migrant Workers Convention protecting guest workers from exploitation. Members are encouraged to sign the petition Amnesty International is running as part of the campaign for workers rights

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Amnesty International marked International Migrants Day today, 18 December, by urging the Australian Government to sign the UN Migrant Workers Convention. The important international agreement is the only human rights convention Australia has not yet signed.

It is estimated that migrants currently make up 3.2% of the world's population, a total of over 200 million people throughout the world. Most of these people are migrant workers and their families.

Amnesty International noted that Australia is a nation that has benefitted enormously from labour migration. The international human rights group said that if the Australian Government signed the important international agreement it would mark an historic breakthrough in the protection of migrant workers and members of their families.

"It is vital that Australia signs the Migrant Workers Convention not only to strengthen its commitment to protect all workers in Australia but also to demonstrate to the region the importance of protecting what is often a very vulnerable group of people," said Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator for Amnesty International Australia.

"Australia needs to show leadership with respect to human rights in a region that both depends upon, and produces, significant numbers of migrant workers. Amnesty International cannot understand why this is the only human rights convention that Australia is yet to sign, given its stated commitment to human rights principles," said Graham Thom.

A number of Australian trade unions have agreed to join Amnesty International and its supporters in petitioning for the Government to sign the convention, including:

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
Australian Education Union (AEU)
Australian Services Union (ASU)
Communication Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU)
Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)
Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU)
Health Services Union of Australia (HSUA)
Maritime Union (MUA)
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU)
National Union of Workers (NUW)