Decent work

Guy Ryder, Director-General ILO, visits the Domestic Workers Sector Skills Council at Prayas

The DG speaks about the shared vision of achieving rights and protection of domestic workers with the Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council and partners.

News | 06 July 2016
ILO News (New Delhi): The Director-General observed a skill training programme and interacted with the domestic worker trainees and trainers at Prayas in New Delhi. Amod Kanth, Founder of Prayas, a development organization working in the field of rescuing children and adults in forced labour and victims of trafficking, and Chairman of the Domestic Workers Sector Skills Council (DWSSC), spoke of the crucial role DWSSC plays in linking domestic work with better working conditions and wages. He said that the DWSSC not only helps the domestic workers in upgrading their skills but also makes them aware of their fundamental rights, which includes negotiating on wages through collective bargaining, eliminating all forms of bonded labour, legal protection and exercising the right to be treated as integral and valuable members of the society.

Kanth said “Domestic work sector in India is huge. The latest KPMG report says that nearly 7.3 million people in India are employed as domestic workers. The Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2009 appointed a task force to formulate a national policy on domestic work. This was a step in the right direction. Six years ago MoLE and ILO initiated the skills training pilot at Prayas, which has today resulted in the formation of the Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council (DWSSC). This is a unique breakthrough, as this is only SSC which is led by consortium of different partners, rather than being led by industry. ILO is the first international organization that has taken action to enable the recognition of domestic work as a critical economic activity.”

Kanth also spoke of the various landmark achievements such as the inclusion of definition of domestic workers in the Jharkhand Private Placement Agencies and Domestic Workers (Regulation) Bill of 2016. He said that this bill drafted in partnership with ILO has the potential to be replicated across the country which in effect will mean that for the first time regulatory checks and balances will be put in place with regard to domestic work.

Guy Ryder, Director-General ILO, said “Ten years ago domestic work was not even recognized. The successes of India in recognizing the importance of domestic work in this regard is nothing short of a revolution. One thing that impresses me a great deal is how we are able to put together a lot of different components of domestic work into a single programme. Skilling, rights and protection, among other issues help open up avenues of career progression for the workers. However, we still need the legislative framework– to work together with placement agencies and also examine issues of trafficking. The key is to have an integrated approach. National programmes and legislations can also in future lead to the ratification of ILO’s convention 189 which speaks of the rights and protection of domestic workers.”

He added, “The issue of domestic workers and the care economy will continue to be on the agenda of ILO for years to come. We have to make sure that the domestic workers are fully-valued members of the society and that their work is treated with dignity.”