The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has commenced a two-day training workshop for employers of labour to mitigate impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and engage in best practices to protect rights of migrant workers.
ILO’s Director, Ms Vanessa Phala, at the opening ceremony held in Lagos on Monday, said the workshop was organised within the framework of a project called the “FAIRWAY”.
The workshop had the theme: “Strengthening Capacity of Employers’ Organisations and Private Employment Agencies in the Area of Labour Migration Amid the Context of COVID-19 in Nigeria.”
Phala is the Director, ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Liaison Office for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“The FAIRWAY project is an inter-regional initiative that aims to enhance capacities of stakeholders to protect the rights of all migrant workers, especially women and other vulnerable groups along the labour migration cycle with specific focus of the labour migration corridor between Africa and the Arab States.
“FAIRWAY further seeks to enable migrant workers contribute to sustainable development in both countries of origin and destination, ” she said.
The director noted that vulnerabilities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic revealed diverse challenges for ILO’s constituents.
According to her, the pandemic has further weakened a fragile socioeconomic situation, negatively affecting businesses and workers alike.
“Accompanying response strategy identifies the need for enhancing capacities of social partners, including respective affiliates at the national level to address emerging challenges in this context.
“Also, critical in this regard is the need to further provide continued support to the government in the area of policy and practice measures that safeguard a wide range of stakeholders working to enhance operational environment of labour migration during and post COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“Through the FAIRWAY programme, ILO is supporting effectiveness of stakeholders to respond to new challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to effectively govern labour migration, ” she said.
Also, one of the presenters, a Lecturer at Elizade University, Ondo State, Ms Omolola Olarinde, said that Nigeria had a revised national policy on labour migration.
According to her, apart from the formal governance arrangements that exist, there is also socio-cultural traditional systems that influence the migration experience.
“It is important that Nigeria ratify those conventions that support her migration objectives and also ensure that migrants understand the type of protective systems at the destinations they go to for work.
“The institutions engaging with migrants should help migrants to understand social, cultural and traditional systems that exist at destinations that migrants go to, because these shape the migration experience, ” Olarinde said.