UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

January 19, 2012 14:35 ET

UFCW Canada and the Mexican State of Guerrero Sign Cooperation Agreement on Migrant Workers' Rights

ACAPULCO, MEXICO and GUERRERO, MEXICO--(Marketwire - Jan. 19, 2012) - Migrant workers from the Mexican State of Guerrero will benefit from a broader network of protection and assistance when arriving to Canada thanks to a new agreement between UFCW Canada and the government of Guerrero.

On January 17, Wayne Hanley, National President of UFCW Canada, and Angel Aguirre Rivero, governor of the State of Guerrero, signed a mutual cooperation and letter of intent to protect the human and labour rights of Mexican temporary agricultural workers in Canada. The cooperation pact will provide assistance, training and outreach to improve the living and working conditions of migrants before, during and after their stay in Canada.

"UFCW Canada is showing once again that ours is a long-term commitment to temporary workers in Canada," said President Hanley. "We look forward to the new possibilities this agreement will offer to the migrant brothers and sisters who contribute to the Canadian agriculture, economy and society."

In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada will assist workers through its network of ten AWA support centers across Canada, with Spanish-speaking staff. Services include assistance with issues such as labour rights, housing conditions, health and safety, workers' compensation and other work related matters. The AWA also provides a toll-free assistance phone line accessible from anywhere in Canada and Mexico, for workers and their families. The government of Guerrero, through the Secretary of Migrants and Foreign Affairs, will provide information and training to migrant workers to ensure they are aware of their rights.

This is the fourth agreement of its kind signed by the UFCW Canada with a Mexican state government in the last three years. It reflects the commitment of the union towards long term partnerships with multiple actors, including governments, labour federations, academic institutions and civil society organizations.

Every season, more than 17,000 Mexicans work in Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP); a bilateral treaty between Mexico and Canada. The new agreement aims to address the current shortfalls in the SAWP program by offering a model of institutional coordinated support, accessible to every migrant worker.

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