On 11 and 12 February 2019 the 8th meeting of the South Asian Forum of Employers (SAFE), was held in Delhi, India. The meeting was well organised by the hosts of the Council of Indian Employers, CIE, encompassing the three central employers ’organisations AIOE, EFI and SCOPE. Representatives of the six employers’ organisations co-operating in SAFE attended, together with participants from ILO and DECP.
An important theme of the meeting was migration: a vital challenge for all SAFE members as remittances of migrant workers account for a big share in GDP and (internal) migration also pays at the national and regional, South Asian levels.
Members approved the SAFE ‘Resolution on Migration’ that lists five ambitions:
- Establishing an optimal business climate as a remedy for migration and precondition for the creation of decent jobs
- Encouraging decent work standards across business in South Asia, including the legal environment needed for decent work
- Encouraging non-discrimination between local and migrant workers in our member firms
- Promoting skills development through in-company training of both local and migrant employees and inviting Governments to provide adequate vocational training
- Engaging in a social dialogue on Migration and other common issues with the trade unions.
On 13 February both SAFE members and a delegation of the regional trade unions, united in the South Asian Regional Trade Unions Council (SARTUC) discussed the migration challenge and took account of the SAFE Resolution and a comparable SARTUC Resolution on migrant workers. They decided to use the ILO plenary meeting in June in Geneva to present their common goals as laid down in the two Resolutions.
DECP, that - together with the Dutch Mondiaal FNV - was instrumental in bringing SAFE and SARTUC together, highly appreciates the results of the 8th SAFE session and the 1st SAFE-SARTUC meeting and feels that an important step had been set to bring structure to the South Asian social dialogue and to tackle the vast challenge of migration.