Collective bargaining

Organizing and Decent Work for Domestic Workers and Elimination of Child Labour in Domestic Work

Domestic work is one of the largest sectors of informal sector work in urban areas in Asian countries and an important source of employment of migrant workers, predominantly women and children. Globally, one in every 13 female wage worker is employed in domestic work. Developing countries in Asia are a major source of international migrants working as domestics both within Asia and beyond.

Background

Domestic work is one of the largest sectors of informal sector work in urban areas in Asian countries and an important source of employment of migrant workers, predominantly women and children. Globally, one in every 13 female wage worker is employed in domestic work. Developing countries in Asia are a major source of international migrants working as domestics both within Asia and beyond. ILO estimates that 41% of the world’s domestic workers are in Asia, equivalent to 21.5 million people aged 15 or above and these numbers are growing in many countries of Asia.

In June 2011, during the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference of the ILO, the member states and the delegates adopted the Convention (C.189) and a Recommendation (R. 201) on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. The adoption of this international labour standard is both a culmination of years of struggles of domestic workers (especially women workers) all over the world for ‘recognition’ and a beginning of a new phase where governments, employers and trade unions need to reflect this recognition in concrete policies to promote decent work for domestic workers. The domestic workers organizations have since then been pushing for ratification of C 189, followed by legislative and regulatory steps to realize decent work for domestic workers through a rights based approach;

As part of promoting decent work for domestic workers (DWDW), ILO’s PROMOTE Project has aimed at reducing child domestic labour (CDL) by building institutional capacities of domestic workers organizations to promote organizing and advocacy for policy reforms. With a main focus on Indonesia (home to millions of child and adult domestic workers), the project aims to have a ripple effect on policy development and actions in the region, especially in ASEAN. As part of its regional strategy, the project has also been working with regional networks (such as IDWF) to mobilize trade unions to advance protection and recognition of DWDWs and CDL prevention.

Trade Unions in Asia, in many cases in association with domestic workers associations and community groups, have been taking a number of initiatives not only for organizing domestic workers but also for regulation of domestic work so as to promote registration of workers, fixation & enforcement of minimum wages, extension of social protection & welfare schemes (for health, maternity and old age benefits as well as skills development) and regulation of recruitment/placement agencies. Unions believe that the adoption of the ILO Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers by ILO member states in 2011 represents an opportunity to provide domestic work and workers, including migrant domestic workers, with the same labour rights framework, protection and dignity as recognised for any other work.

This workshop therefore seeks to bring together trade unions, Domestic Workers Organisations (DWOs) and their support networks such as ITUC and IDWF to share their experiences of organizing, advocacy and initiatives to ensure Decent Work for domestic workers. The workshop will be an opportunity to review the work done in Indonesia and in the region, with the view to sharing achievements, discuss progress toward application of ILO C189, reduce CDL and fostering cooperation and networking among the trade unions for organizing and advocacy for DWDW.

Objectives

The workshop programme is aimed at:
  • Reviewing results of initiatives taken by the trade unions & domestic workers organisations for promoting decent work for domestic workers, including progress made in elimination of child domestic labour; discuss progress, hurdles and emerging opportunities in promoting ratification of C 189 and discuss strategies & actions for ratification; and
  • Promote follow up actions, including cooperation among the unions for organizing, social protection & decent work for domestic workers, including migrant domestic workers.

Workshop structure and content

The workshop will comprise of the following sessions:
  • Child and Adult Domestic work & the challenges before the Labour Movement for Decent Work for all: This session will focus on the nature of employment and employment relationships in domestic work, driving forces of domestic work, applicability of ILO’s Decent Work approach to domestic work and challenges before trade unions. The Participants will also be introduced to the efforts by the ILO and the international labour movement in protecting and promoting social justice for workers in the era of globalization.
  • Country Reviews (Group Work): Situation of domestic work (including CDW) and workers, initiatives & challenges before trade unions: Using the country reports (prepared beforehand), participants will work in groups to present cross country situational report, focusing on the current situation of domestic workers (including child domestic workers) – conditions of work, social & legal status, government policies towards domestic workers and child domestic workers, specific initiatives being taken by the unions for domestic workers, including in-country migrants and main problems
  • Applying ‘Rights based approach’ to Domestic Work and Workers [Experience of the PROMOTE Project]
  • Group work on C 189: Existing national policy/law on Domestic Workers, Union Strategies & actions to promote ratification of C 189.
  • ITUC: Organizing & Social Protection initiatives by trade unions: The session to focus on updating on ITUC’s campaign (developments, challenges & role of trade unions), followed by initiatives being taken by trade unions in other countries to promote organizing and social protection measures for domestic workers.
  • Regulating private recruitment agencies: national law and ILO standard 181: Session to focus on key principles and provisions of ILO Convention 181 on Private Employment Agencies and national law and practice with a view to identify issues for change through social dialogue and collective bargaining at national level so as to protect the interests of workers employed through agencies.
  • Organizing & Social Protection of Domestic Workers: what can unions do? Session to focus on problems faced by domestic workers, their self-help initiatives and role that unions can play in strengthening domestic workers struggles for organizing, decent employment and social protection (interaction with domestic workers organization).
  • Inter-country trade union cooperation in assisting domestic workers, including migrant domestic workers – An interactive session between trade union participants, facilitated by ILO, for reviewing initiatives and promoting a joint action plan for organizing, promotion of rights and social protection of domestic workers, including migrant women domestic workers; the group work will be aimed at developing follow up trade union initiatives for promoting Decent Work for migrant domestic workers.