JAKARTA (ILO News): In conjunction with the commemoration of the National Domestic Workers Day, the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with Jaringan Kerja Layak Pekerja Rumah Tangga (Jakerla PRT) will organize a one-day rally on the recognition of domestic work as work and the protection of domestic workers on Sunday, 14 February 2010, at Tugu Proklamasi, Jakarta, from 09.00am to 13.00pm. The rally will be officially opened by the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, HE Linda Gumelar, the Goodwill Ambassador for Indonesian Migrant Workers, Rieke Dyah Pitaloka, and ILO Jakarta Officer-in-charge, Peter van Rooij.
The rally will be marked by sewing a giant napkin, as a working symbol of domestic workers. This giant napkin will be sewn together by around 200 stakeholder representatives, ranging from the government institutions, unions, domestic workers organizations, parliaments, and NGOs. This napkin will be then wrapped around a giant female doll (4 metres in height) with many hands holding household tools, representing a variety, endless tasks that should be undertaken by a domestic worker. This aims to remind the public at large regarding the important role and contribution of domestic workers in the household.
This rally will be followed by a radio campaign in 10 cities around Indonesia from 14 February to 5 March. The radio campaign is part of the public awareness raising activities to recognize domestic work as work and to promote the international and national standards-setting processes for domestic workers.
These activities are part of the global context of settings an international labour standard for domestic workers. This work will culminate at the ILO International Labour Conference in 2011 when member countries will draft a new international standard on labour conditions and protection of domestic workers. The ILO’s Law and Practices Report entitled “Decent Work for Domestic Work” of April 2009 provides a detailed study of and justification for the need for international labour standards for domestic workers.
The National Domestic Workers Day 2009 marks a collaborative effort by the main national stakeholders and the ILO to promote basic human rights and labour protection of domestic workers, with a focus on Indonesian domestic workers. The rally and radio campaign aim to foster greater understanding of the plight of domestic workers to ensure effective protection of Indonesian domestic workers through a better legal enforcement through national regulations and international standards. The rally will address national issues, including the national bill on domestic workers work conditions and protection which is currently listed on the DPR’s agenda for review in 2010.
Despite the important role of domestic workers in the household and overall economy, domestic work is still not recognized as work. Since their work is done in private households, which are not considered work places in many countries, their employment relationship is frequently not addressed in national labour laws or other legislation, denying them recognition as workers entitled to labour protection.
Accounts of maltreatment and abuse, especially of live-in and migrant domestic workers, are also regularly reported in the media. According to an ILO study in 2004, there were an estimated 2,593,399 domestic workers in Indonesia; of these, 1.4 million domestic workers were estimated to work in Java alone. The vast majority of domestic workers are female with low educational levels; they mainly come from poor families in rural communities.
Domestic work is currently the most important source of salaried work for rural women with low levels of education, and many domestic workers strive in vain to support themselves and their families on the salary they receive. The efforts to promote better protection to the Indonesian domestic workers will, in turn, promote support to the Indonesian domestic workers’ rights overseas.
For further information please contact:
Ms Lotte Kejser
Chief Technical Adviser of the ILO Migrant Workers Project
ILO Jakarta Office
Tel: +6221 3913112 ext. 130
Mr Albert Y. Bonasahat
National Coordinator of the ILO Migrant Workers Project
ILO Jakarta Office
Tel: +6221 3913112 ext. 125
Ms Gita Lingga
Media Relations Officer
ILO Jakarta Office
Tel: +6221 3913112 ext. 115