Posted by: tigergrassroots | July 14, 2011

ILO members urged to ratify treaty for domestic workers

The member states of the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO), including the Philippines, should ratify a landmark measure concerning decent work for domestic workers.

The support for Convention 189 was voiced by social and economic justice advocates at the ongoing 5th Social Watch Global Assembly in Manila, according to a statement issued by Social Watch Philippines.

Social Watch is a network of citizens’ organizations struggling to eradicate poverty and causes of poverty, and to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and realization of human rights.

At the assembly, Agnes Matienzo of Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) said there should be a “global initiative” to introduce Convention 189 to domestic workers — especially domestic helpers — “so they will become aware about its existence.”

Social Watch said the passage of Convention 189 last June 16 was celebrated by workers around the world as they expect the landmark measure to change the lives of at least 100 million workers globally.

According to Convention 189, domestic workers who care for families and households must have the same basic labor rights as those available to other workers:

      A. reasonable hours of work,
      B. weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours,
      C. limit on in-kind payment,
      D. clear information on terms and conditions of employment, and
                 E. respect for fundamental principles and rights at work (freedom of association and right to collective

William Gois, MFA regional coordinator, said it took ILO about six years to approve the measure. This means that within the organization, there is also resistance to look into domestic work, he added.

Forceful displacement

Meanwhile, Abdul Kadir Khalif Sh. Yusuf of the Somali Organization for Community Development Activities, proposed the identification of civic organizations working on migration, which Social Watch can coordinate for action on migrant workers’ issues.

“We can identify Social Watch members who will do advocacy work of presenting to workers their rights. We should think of the migrant workers and their families too,” he said.

At an earlier press briefing, Social Watch global coordinator Roberto Bissio said migration of workers should be connected to the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers.

He also said the forceful displacement of people is a practice that should be evaluated, and the right to migrate and establish one’s self where an individual wants should be respected. — JE, GMA News


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