Governments, employers and workers attending the 100th International Labour Conference (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday adopted the first convention and accompanying recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
This was contained in a statement issued and copied to Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra.
Mr Myrtle Wibooi, Chair of the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), said: “Today we celebrate a great victory for domestic workers. Until now we have been treated as ‘invisible’, not respected for the huge contribution we make in society and the economy and denied our rights as workers. It is an injustice that has lasted too long.
“This is truly a historic event and a step forward for an estimated 50 to 100 million men, women and children worldwide–working in the homes of their employers.”
The statement said some governments attending the ILO conference have already indicated their willingness to ratify the convention, and domestic workers from around the world will continue to work at the national level to ensure that governments put the contents of the convention into the law of each country.
It said the convention starts by recognizing the “significant contribution of domestic workers to the global economy” and that this work is “undervalued and invisible, and is mainly carried out by women and girls, many of whom are migrants or members of disadvantaged communities.”
The statement affirms that domestic workers have the same fundamental rights that all workers have: the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced labour, the effective abolition of child labour, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
It said with this convention in place, governments have the duty to take measures to sure that domestic workers enjoy these fundamental rights.
Governments will be asked to take measures to ensure that domestic workers enjoy effective protection against all forms of abuse, harassment and violence.
The IDWN is made up of domestic workers unions and associations around the world, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, North America, and Europe.
Support organizations include International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, catering, Tobacco and allied Workers’ association) and Women in Informal employment globalizing and Organizing.