THREE migrant worker groups have joined forces to form a coalition to strengthen migrant worker activism in Singapore.
Launched yesterday, Solidarity for Migrant Workers is run by arts group Migrant Voices, and advocacy groups Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) and Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2).
Prior to the launch, the three organisations have been working together on ad hoc activities, but Mrs Bridget Lew, president of Home, said it was time to form a united ‘solidarity’.
‘We have had about three years to develop ourselves, and we’re ready to build on what we have and work together on an ongoing basis.’
The grouping will also bring together a wider range of skills, ideas and experiences and allow for more efficient use of resources, she said.
For example, research topics will not be duplicated and volunteer training can be done on a larger scale.
The coalition will focus on five areas spanning education, welfare, research, communication and the arts as a means of advocacy.
Plans for the year include publishing a newsletter for migrant workers and setting up a resource centre, which pools information from all three groups and serves as a one-stop reference centre for those researching migrant worker issues in Singapore.
Mr Shaun Teo, president of Migrant Voices, said they are also interested in embarking on an aural history project to document the lives of foreign workers here.
‘In the future, someone may want to know what it was like to be a migrant worker in 2009,’ he said.
As for issues that the coalition hopes to tackle, Mrs Lew said they are still concerned about the issue of human rights and migrant rights, and how the Singapore laws can better protect these workers.
On whether the coalition will have more clout than individual organisations when they table recommendations to the authorities, Mrs Lew said: ‘With shared expertise, we can be better informed and more competent in producing recommendations.’