Conference e-mail

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Eve Kyntäjä (SAK, Finland)

Labour Migration in the European Union - Challenges and Opportunities

Decent work.
Migrant workers should  be able to exercise their fundamental rights, including trade union rights. That is also the way to ensure that migration is not misused for the purpose of undercutting existing terms and conditions of work. Labour legislation and terms of collective agreements must be applied to all workers whether they are migrants or not.

Social dumping.
Labour migration is often associated with social dumping. Social dumping means lack of respect of legislation and collective agreements. Furthermore, social dumping harms enterprises that respect rules. Social dumping also diminishes purchase power of workers.

High unemployment can influence public opinion: immigrants are seen as part of the problem. Social partners can have joint commitment and efforts against discrimination and xenophobia.

Awareness of rights and obligations.
Social partners could make sure that migrant workers know about their rights. Migrant workers should be told about their rights and about functioning of the labour market. It is important for trade unions to reach out for migrant workers.

Language skills.
Knowing the language of the host country and workplace is crucial in understanding one´s rights. Workers should understand what the regulations on health and safety mean. Employers could do more in contributing to the language courses.

The role of the ILO on migration.
There are up-to-date ILO instruments Conventions number 97 and 143 and thanks to the ILO supervision mechanism there is also a follow up of the application of the standards. Unfortunately Finland has not ratified them. Neither has Finland ratified the relevant UN Convention (UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families). The Finnish trade unions support the ratification of these instruments.

Migration and integration policy should always be seen in a broad perspective. At the national level policies on migration, education, employment, housing and ageing could be considered together