Union Migrant Net: Athens focuses on the integration of female third-country nationals in the labor market

As part of the UnionMigrantNet European program, the City of Athens in collaboration with the Migrant Point of the Athens Labour Unions Organization (EKA) organized on Friday, October 14, 2022, a conference on the gender dimension of third country nationals in the labor market.

The international conference, which is the final event organized by Athens under the UnionMigrantNet program, took place after three whole years of fruitful cooperation between international and local partners, such as trade unions, public authorities and civil society organizations. In particular, the UnionMigrantNet program unites European municipalities and their trade unions in relation to the integration of refugees and migrants into the labor market and employability.

We’re trying to help people find what they want and what they can do, and then give them the means to do it. For this reason, we work together with the unions and with the productive sector“, explained Ms. Melina Daskalaki, Executive Advisor for the Support and Social Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees of the City of Athens, who also noted: “The program was a unique opportunity to increase our capacities by sharing ideas and developing a network through which we can learn from each other and help each other.”

Bringing together different stakeholders 

The conference provided an opportunity to exchange experience in the fields of immigration, integration and gender. Representatives of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Athens Labour Unions Organization (EKA), Greek and public authorities and members of the UnionMigrantNet national contact points of the trade unions of Slovenia, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany and Belgium, as well as representatives of civil society.

More specifically, the City of Athens presented the relevant actions of Migrant Integration Centre (KEM), the new ENFEM program as well as the important work of the Center for Combating Gender-Based Violence and Multiple Discrimination. Also, the work of the General Secretariat for Demography and Family Policy and Gender Equality and the Network of Migrant Women in Greece “Melissa” was highlighted.

A round table was also held with the participation of representatives of European unions, the Athens Labour Unions Organization (EKA) and the organization Generation 2.0 RED.

“Mutual Learning” for inclusion

Athens’ contribution to the program includes the organization of an extremely fruitful work visit within the framework of the “mutual learning” part of the project, which was undertaken by the City of Athens in collaboration with the Migrant Point of the Athens Labour Unions Organization (EKA) and the Organization Generation 2.0 for Rights, Equality & Diversity in June 2022.

Members of unions and municipalities of Italy and the Confederation of European Trade Unions (ETUC, City of Milan, Municipality of Pordenone, FISASCAT & ANOLF CISL Milano Metropoli&ANOLF Nazionale, ANOLF Regionale FVG and CSIR, FVGCARINZIA) came to Athens and exchanged good practices, means and measures that can be used to integrate immigrants into the labor market.

During these days, the participants got to know structures of the City of Athens and other civil society organizations, such as the Migrant Integration Center  of the City of Athens (KEM), the Athens Coordination Center for Migrant and Refugees issues (ACCMR), the City of Athens Reception & Solidarity Centre (KYADA), the Athens Solidarity Center (Solidarity Now), the ADAMA Center (UN High Commissioner for Refugees), the Greek Forum of Migrants, the Greek Refugee Forum, etc.

The event included two approaches to integration; from the side of the public bodies and from the side of the civil society, including trade unions, emphasizing the benefits of the cooperation of all interested parties.

From this meeting, a VIDEO was created through which you can get to know all the contributors to the program. Check it out here (Facebook link).

* The European UMN program

The European UMN program builds on the already existing European Trade Union Network (UMN) of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), which provides services to third-country nationals at EU level, and at the same time strengthens, updates and improves the network by promoting cooperation with the local authorities responsible for reception and integration of third country nationals.

The program aims to exchange and transfer knowledge, experiences and best practices related to integration between 9 members of the UMN and 8 local authorities from five EU countries, namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Slovenia. The specific program focuses on the integration of third country nationals into the labor market.

The Greek partners participating in the project are: the City of Athens, the Migrant Point of the Athens Labour Unions Organization (EKA) and the Generation 2.0 Organization for Rights, Equality & Diversity. The project started in October 2019, was to be completed in May 2022, but was extended to November 2022.

Photographs, Video: © 2022 ΕΚΑ