SOLIDARITY WANTS ILO CONVENTION RATIFIED TO CURB XENOPHOBIA

ANC Daily News Briefing/Sapa, 8 July 2008

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Trade union Solidarity will petition parliament, as part of a campaign against xenophobia, to ratify a convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Convention 143 of 1975 could have prevented the xenophobic attacks that ravaged South Africa earlier this year, the union said in a statement on Tuesday. A Solidarity investigation on xenophobia showed "shocking facts regarding the South African government's obvious haphazard attitude towards xenophobia". Government not only ignored warnings on possible xenophobic attacks, but also neglected to ratify Convention 143 of 1975. Solidarity's research also showed that the migration of workers led to xenophobic attacks in several cases world-wide. "Solidarity's research clearly shows that the South African government doesn't take the combating and prevention of xenophobic attacks seriously," said Solidarity spokesman Jaco Kleynhans. "There is a specific convention of the ILO that provides useful guidelines on gathering information on migrating workers in order to prevent unsuited workers from staying in the country illegally. "By ratifying the convention, the relevant government undertakes to ensure that migrating workers aren't employed illegally to work under poor conditions and for poor wages. "If government had ratified the convention, the xenophobic attacks could have been limited and even prevented," Kleynhans said.