BackgroundAsia harbors 41 percent of the world domestic workers, equivalent to 21.5 million people aged 15 or above. The numbers are growing in many countries in the region. Many of these domestic workers are under 18 years old and the majority are girls. Some of the largest flows of overseas migrant domestic workers in the world also originate in Asian countries and their numbers are also increasing. Despite these large numbers of domestic workers working in their home countries, as well as migrating to foreign countries, domestic workers in Asian countries often lack of legal protection. Some progress has been made in a few countries in the region.
The Government of the Philippines, for example, has ratified ILO Convention No. 189 on Domestic Workers in 2012 and has passed a national law on domestic workers protection while the Government of Thailand has issued a Ministerial Regulation under the Labor Protection Act on November 9, 2012, which extends certain protections to domestic workers (i.e., housemaids and nannies). In Indonesia, although still far from the standards set by the ILO Convention no 189, the Government has endorsed a ministerial decree on domestic workers protection. More efforts are certainly needed to ensure comprehensive protection for domestic workers in this region.
The Promote Project, in collaboration with ILO’s Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV), had implemented two regional workshops aimed at enhancing regional alliances in promoting actions against child domestic labor (CDL) and recognition of decent work for domestic workers (DWDW) in Asia. The workshops, which were led by ACTRAV, provided fora for trade unions, domestic workers organization (DWO), and other key stakeholders to discuss and share innovative approaches to address the needs of child domestic workers (CDW) through promoting DWDW, and discussed strategies for supporting the implementation of ILO Convention 189 on Domestic Workers Protection.
Through these workshops, participants strengthened their commitments to continue to lobby for ratification of Convention No. 189 and for improvement of national legislation on decent work for domestic work in their countries. Trade unions and domestic workers organizations, together with the ILO, committed to work together in ensuring that governments across Asia will eventually ratify ILO Convention 189 to guarantee the development of regulations that would reflect the principles set out in the Convention.
As part of the ILO constituent, trade union has also actively contributed to global commitment on the eradication of child labour by 2025 as required in Target 8.7 of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The main role of worker is to ensure no child labour in the work place as its fundamental principles and rights through policy advocacy, public campaign, capacity improvement of worker, etc.
To further strengthen the alliance among trade unions, domestic workers organizations, and other stakeholders in Asia region in promoting decent work for domestic workers and the elimination of child domestic labor, the Project will organize the 3rd Regional Workshop in early 2018. The workshop will take stock on the progress and challenges in realizing decent work for domestic workers (DWDW) and in extending legal protection for domestic workers in Asia and discuss innovative solutions that can be used in overcoming the challenges. During the workshop participants will discuss various areas of work pertinent to promoting DWDW and the elimination of CDL, including domestic worker organizing, policy advocacy, empowerment of domestic workers, awareness raising, widening access to justice, reduction of child domestic workers, and other relevant issues.
Promote Project will share good and promising practices as well as lesson learned from the implementation of its activities in Indonesia. Participants will learn develop action plans for each country represented in the workshop to further promote decent work for domestic workers and eliminate child domestic labor in their countries taking into account the lessons learned and good and promising practices from the Promote Project as well as from other countries. The proposed workshop will be attended by around 40 participants representing Trade Union, Domestic Worker Organizations and other stakeholders from 11 Asian countries, such as Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The workshop programme is aimed at:
- Sharing knowledge and experiences on good and promising practices as well as lesson learned resulted by the PROMOTE project and other initiatives taken by trade union and Domestic worker organization from other countries in promoting decent work for domestic worker to end child domestic worker; and
- Strengthening cooperation among the unions and key organizations to contribute to SDGs 2030, especially SDG8.7 on the eradication of child labour by 2025, with particular focusing on domestic child labour.