Latest Posts


Monday, June 20, 2011

UN labour convention vows to protect domestic workers : Treaty to ensure fair 'terms of employment'

                 Member states of the UN labour agency adopted a treaty on Thursday to improve conditions for tens of millions of domestic workers worldwide, hailed as a great victory by an international trade union body.
Household and other domestic labourers are often migrants seeking to escape poverty at home only to suffer difficult working conditions with their new employers, for example in the Middle East, rights groups say.
Most are women or girls who do cleaning or look after children and some are subject to violence or sexual assault.
"This is a historical moment for domestic workers worldwide. Today we have taken a significant step by overwhelming majority towards making domestic work decent work ... making what is too often invisible work visible,"                                               Juan Somavia, directorgeneral of the International Labour Organization (ILO), told a briefing.
The convention brings ILO standards into the informal economy for the first time and could apply to up to 100 million people, according to the ILO.
The convention, which was adopted with 396 votes for, 16 against and 63 abstentions, will come into effect upon the ratification of two countries. The Philippines and Uruguay have already said they would ratify the accord. However, countries may opt not to sign on to the convention, which could reduce its bite.
Under the text approved by the 183-member ILO, countries should take steps to ensure that domestic workers "enjoy fair terms of employment as well as decent working conditions."
The text included provisions stating that hours of work should be "reasonable" with at least 24 hours of consecutive rest every week and that workers should be paid in cash at least once a month and have the right to collective bargaining.
They should be provided with a safe and healthy working environment as well as access to courts if disputes arise.
"Each member shall take measures to ensure that domestic workers enjoy effective protection against all forms of abuse, harassment and violence," the convention states.
"It is not acceptable that in countries with strong economies and a lot of personal wealth, we have an underclass of domestic slaves," ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said.
Addressing the annual ILO conference earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indonesian           President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono voiced support for the convention, the latest instrument in the UN body's arsenal to protect labour rights.
"This is an area that in many ways has been very much in the shadow of official employment," Merkel said.
Source : Otawa Citizen, June 17, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment