News

First step in better protecting domestic workers in Belgium (Dutch only)

30 September, 2014 | FOS & Marieke Koning & Organisatie voor Clandestiene Arbeidsmigranten - OR.C.A. vzw | FOS
BELGIUM -

Since of 1 October, domestic workers working less than 24 hours a week are now entitled to social protection, access to paid sick leave, pension schemes and unemployment benefits.

Bangladeshi Workers Organize to Protect Their Most Valuable Export: Themselves

29 September, 2014 | Tiffany Williams | Foreign Policy In Focus
BANGLADESH -

In Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries on the planet, more than 157 million people live on about 57,000 square miles of land. That’s a population greater than Russia’s living in a country smaller than the state of Illinois. We heard over and over again that Bangladesh’s prime economic resource is its abundance of people—and indeed, alongside agriculture and garment manufacturing, “labor exporting” is a pillar of the economy. In 2013, more than $13 billion was sent home from Bangladeshi migrants working overseas.

The national government officials we met with seemed at once detached from the suffering of migrant workers yet proud of the quality of their “exports.” On the local level, where officials and NGOs seem to work collaboratively to educate Bangladeshis about safe migration, we saw a more complicated picture. Labor migration is a rare viable option to support a family in a poor country like Bangladesh, but these small local partnerships are not reaching enough of the population. Because of these gaps, potential migrants might still take risks in desperation, like working with dalals (middlemen) who cheat them with few consequences.

MacArthur "Genius" Ai-jen Poo: Organizing America's Domestic Workers

17 September, 2014 | Seth Freed Wessler | NBC News
USA -

Behind the doors of any given American home there may be someone inside paid to take care of children, an aging grandparent or a sick relative.

Domestic workers are among the least-protected members of the workforce, excluded from state and federal labor laws. For the last 16 years, labor organizer Ai-jen Poo, now the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, has been organizing housekeepers, nannies and home health aides to expand workplace protections. Today, Poo became a 2014 MacArthur "genius.”

Campaigners welcome new protections for workers in diplomatic households in Ireland

12 September, 2014 | Migrant Rights Centre Ireland | Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
IRELAND -

New measures will help prevent labour exploitation and trafficking

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) today welcomed new measures to protect workers in the homes of diplomats in Ireland. Diplomats employing domestic workers in their homes must now comply with a list of requirements aimed at preventing labour exploitation and human trafficking.

The NannyVan: Educating domestic workers about their rights

12 September, 2014 | Alicia Menendez | Fusion
USA -

NannyVan is an organization based in New York that travels around the country in an awesome 1976 revamped Chevy van that was purchased on Craigslist.

Their goal is to accelerate the movement for domestic workers rights' by meeting domestic workers face-to-face and informing them about everything they are entitled to in their workplace. They hand out informational flyers, sample work contracts, informational coloring pages for children and they even have a nanny hotline where domestic workers can call in and hear short, humorous episodes that teaches them about their rights.

Overworked, Underpaid and In Your House: The Never Ending Exploitation of South Africa's Domestic Workers

11 September, 2014 | South African Civil Society Information Service | SACSIS
SOUTH AFRICA -

They are important drivers of the South African economy, yet domestic workers are still amongst the lowest paid workers today. Their fate was sealed during the apartheid era when “kitchen girls” were just servants with no workplace rights. Little has changed in post-apartheid South Africa we learn from Myrtle Witbooi, the general secretary of South Africa’s domestic workers’ union. Domestic work is still not considered decent work. Poor enforcement of regulations and regressive employer attitudes mean that domestic workers’ rights are being quietly violated every day by people who would never accept similar working conditions themselves.

Myrtle Witbooi is the general secretary of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU). She is interviewed by Fazila Farouk, the executive director of the South African Civil Society Information Service.

The Gap Between Laws And Reality For Colombian Domestic Workers

5 September, 2014 | Gabby De Cicco | AWID
COLOMBIA -

On September 5, 2013 the Domestic Workers Convention (C189),  adopted by International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2011, entered into force. A year later, AWID spoke to Andrea Londoño S., Coordinator of the citizens' initiative Hablemos de Empleadas Domésticas (Let's Talk About Women Domestic Workers) from Medellin, Colombia, who outlines the legal landscape, how women domestic workers are organizing, and the challenges they face.

It's official! Ireland ratifies the Domestic Workers Convention

2 September, 2014 | ILO | ILO
IRELAND -

Ireland is the 15th ILO member State and the third EU member State to ratify this instrument which seeks to improve the working and living conditions of tens of millions of domestic workers worldwide.

Kuwaiti families bring in 30,000 domestic workers annually

30 August, 2014 | Zawya | Zawya
KUWKUWAIT -

While expressing his complete approval of establishing a special authority to bring domestic labor from abroad in order to eliminate the shortcomings of the current demography and limit crimes, MP Kamel Al-Awadhi stressed that both the PM and the interior minister had seconded his proposal to establish a special company answerable to the Interior Ministry to be responsible for bringing domestic labor to the country so that it can protect both workers and sponsors.

Vietnam study: economic value of domestic work for families and society

28 August, 2014 | Quỳnh Chi & Oxfam in Vietnam | laodong.com.vn
VIETNAM -

The Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment for Development (GFCD)  conducted a survey with 500 domestic workers in 5 districts in Vietnam. It finds out domestic workers contribute big economic value for families and society. The GFCD calls for recognition of domestic workers for decent work and occupational training for them.
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