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Global unions want governments to adopt Convention 189 for domestic workers

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
14 December 2021   |   2:40 am
Global organised labour movements under the aegis of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) are mounting pressure on governments around the world to ratify and implement

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Global organised labour movements under the aegis of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) are mounting pressure on governments around the world to ratify and implement the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 189 for domestic workers.
   
The need to mount intercontinental pressure on governments was taken 10 years ago. 

    
C189 was negotiated in 2011 and requires that countries ensure domestic workers have the same rights and freedoms as other workers.
   
However, a new report by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), a body co-founded by the Commonwealth Trade Union Group, has found that only nine Commonwealth countries have ratified, or are in the process of ratifying C189. This leaves 45 countries that have not, including India, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
     
The EU C189 Alliance, which includes global unions, has found that only eight EU member-states have ratified C189.
     
Other ITUC affiliates across the world are pushing for governments to urgently ratify and implement in national law the rights enshrined in C189. Globally, 35 countries have done this.
   
Commenting on the fresh moves, the General Secretary, ITUC, Sharan Burrow said: “Ratifying and implementing C189 is a moral duty of all governments to show that they value the work of domestic workers. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many have kept working and caring, despite the risks to their health. They are too often forgotten and as they are mostly women migrant workers, they are too often exploited.
  
“I encourage the unions involved in campaigns to ratify C189 to keep up their important work. It is a scandal that ten years after C189 was agreed it is not more widely implemented. But with their efforts, C189 will be put in place more widely and domestic workers will enjoy the rights and freedoms they deserve.”