UITBB Statement on International Migrants Day

18 December – International Migrants Day 2021

As we draw near the end of yet another year filled with restrictions, destitute but also hope, we come upon December 18 which is International Migrants Day.

UITBB would like to repeat that being a migrant or a refugee is never the choice of the individual, but the outcome of capitalist interventions and neoliberal policies. No man, woman or child wants to risk their lives by travelling for days in rough seas on a boat ready to sink or go through dangerous terrain in harsh conditions. They do so because they have no other choice for surviving.

What is more, when migrants arrive, they are being ruthlessly exploited by employers, with the tolerance of the governments themselves, imposing restrictions, not allowing them to work with all the benefits of local workers, pitting them against locals which breeds racism and xenophobia and gives rise to alt-right movements, and of course stopping them from getting organized, to weaken the global labour movement.

This is clearly a class-based issue and it must be addressed through class-based approaches. The progressive trade union movement should do its best for migrants to be integrated in host societies, join the trade union movement and participate in all of our class-based struggles.

UITBB expresses its undying solidarity with all uprooted people and especially migrant workers in the construction industry, calling upon its members to assist these people in any way possible, resisting the right-wing forces which try to exploit migrants and divide the working class.

UITBB would like to repeat that there is only one working class and we are all part of it, regardless of colour, religion, language or place of origin. To that end, we call upon our members to organise specific actions to honour this year’s International Migrants Day.

Michalis Papanikolaou

UITBB General Secretary