Decent Work for Domestic Workers/ C189

Cooperating Out of Isolation: The Case of Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait

Representatives from governments, worker’s organisations, informal domestic worker networks, and national and international experts on workers’ self-organisation gather in Amman to discuss and explore potential organizing services for domestic workers including cooperatives in Arab States.

Despite recent attempts and progress of some countries in the region to better understand the principles enshrined in ILO Domestic Workers Convention 189 (2011), many ‘live-in’ domestic workers still face isolation and limited freedom of movement, which hinders their ability to organise collectively. Despite the existence of informal networks and community-based initiatives, at times led by religious institutions, the level of formal organisation of migrant domestic workers continues to be limited, and their voices remain largely unheard.

As part of the “Regional Advocacy Strategy on ILO’s Domestic Workers C. 189 Action in the Middle East”, the ILO has produced a comprehensive study entitled “Cooperating out of isolation: the case of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait”. The study is an attempt to map the current legislative and policy frameworks, institutional structures and membership-based initiatives that can provide domestic workers with the space to economically organise in the Middle East.

Over the course of two days, workshop participants will work to validate and prioritise the findings from the study, and discuss the economic viability of employment and other services provided through cooperatives. The workshop will also build on experiences from other parts of the world, to understand their challenges and benefit from their success.