ICDD Working-paper, n. 31, 2012
This paper explores the relationship between migrant leaders and labour rights activists starting with the acknowledgment that this is often a matter of frustration for all subjects involved. The collaboration between organisations of migrants and those of workers is not always smooth and truly collaborative. Yet, foreign workers have an increasing importance in the negotiation of better labour rights in Europe. The topic is discussed by taking the case of migrant domestic labour in Italy and the experience of Italian and Filipino organisation leaders who campaign for better rights in this sector. The discussion will be developed by bringing together the perspectives of three key actors in this field such as trade unions, Christian labour organisations, and finally Filipino women's groups. Through the analysis of in-depth interviews with women representatives of these organisations, the following impediments in the collaborations among them will be pointed out: difficulties in identifying an egalitarian method for pursuing together common goals; lack of 'trust' of the good-will of labour organisations from the side of migrants; and, finally, the limits of what will be called 'bridge-persons', i.e. trade unionists of a migrant background who are expected to facilitate the connection between the two groups.