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Migrant workers: precariousness and irregular working conditions lead 'to situations of modern slavery'

Precarious and irregular working conditions of seasonal migrant workers and migrant domestic workers (Stoica)

Precarious and irregular work situations of migrant workers have increased over the years. Their vulnerability is aggravated by cumulative factors, especially by the limited nature of seasonal work contracts, linguistic barriers, or the lengthy and cumbersome procedures for obtaining work permits. “The high degree of precariousness and irregular working conditions among migrant workers, such as low or absent remuneration, excessive workload, harassment, or lack of social security coverage and social rights, lead overall to situations of modern slavery”, PACE Committee on Migration said today.

Unanimously adopting a draft resolution, based on the report prepared by Diana Stoica (Romania, ALDE), the Committee called on the observance of the existing international legal framework aimed at tackling such precariousness and irregular working conditions, citing notably the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings or the European Social Charter. The Council of Europe member States, the parliamentarians said, should “observe the existing international treaties, norms and recommendations, improve their laws, starting by migration and labour laws, and effectively implement such texts in order to address precariousness and improve the social aspects of seasonal and domestic work in Europe”.

Member States should also “define and criminalise in legislation ‘forced labour’, and ‘precarious and irregular working conditions’; establish anti-trafficking legislation and mechanisms to prevent and tackle the illegal practices of criminal organisations, and better detect undeclared work. They should also establish “legal and practical measures for effective labour inspections, including of domestic work; increase financial and human resources dedicated to inspectorates; and better train inspectors”. Access to justice and appropriate sanctions are crucial to guarantee legal assistance and protection to migrant workers, the Committee concluded.

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