Decent Work Convention Adopted for Domestic Workers

Keywords : Human and trade union rights

Decent Work Convention Adopted for Domestic Workers

The Convention (189) on Decent Work for Domestic Workers was passed by a majority vote during the 100th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC). At exactly 11.44am, the President of the ILC, Prof. Pobert Nkili (Cameroun), announced the outcome of the vote taken by Government, Employers and Workers delegates on the proposed convention 189.
‘YES!’ was the word and that brought smiles, relief and even tears of joy from the participants. Representatives of the Domestic Workers worldwide immediately flashed a huge banner welcoming C.189, and also congratulating delegates for the worthy deed.

Though some delegates, such as Britain Employers canvassed against the vote, their efforts failed. 396 voted YES, 16 voted NO, while 63 delegates abstained. The United States voted in support, but their employers, a day before the voting had expressed reservation about a YES vote from his constituency. There was jubilation, hugging and patting on the backs as comrades congratulated themselves for a job well done and for service to the over 56 million domestic Workers all over the world.

For the Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, 464 voted YES, 8 voted NO, while 64 Abstained. And according, to the ILO working system, the Convention will come into force immediately two countries ratified it.

In the words of the Secretary-General of the Conference and Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. Juan Somavia, “We are moving the standards system of the ILO into the informal economy for the first time, and this is a breakthrough of great significance”. He added in conclusion “History is being made.
It was hard in coming, but it has come.” The instrument for better protection for these sets of workers has been agreed and adopted.

However, the task is to commence work without delay on the need to have it effectively ratified by member countries and to ensure adequate implementation across board. The struggle has shifted to National Parliaments to give the Convention and the Recommendation the necessary legal backing for proper administration and application. They must all be domesticated. And trade unions must work harder than the convention drafting and adoption process to ensure these expected positive outcomes.

Congratulations workers of Africa and workers of the world, but the struggle continues.

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