Prime Minister: Jamaica to ratify ILO Household Workers Convention

10 March, 2014 | Jamaica Observer | Jamaica Observer

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JAMAICA -

Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller says the Government is moving to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 189, which stipulates safeguards for the welfare of household workers globally, and outlines provisions to significantly enhance their status and working conditions.

"This is a matter which the Bureau (of Women's Affairs) has partnered with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the (Jamaica) Household Workers Union (on), to bring (it) to a successful outcome," Simpson Miller told Friday's cocktail reception at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, to commemorate the Bureau's 40th Anniversary, and International Women's Day, which was observed on March 8.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (right) greets former head of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs Beverley Manley Duncan during a reception at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Friday, commemorating the bureau’s 40th anniversary and International Women’s Day, observed on March 8. (PHOTO: JIS)

Governments' ratification of the agreement signals their commitment to revising, where necessary, the relevant laws in their respective countries governing the welfare of household workers, male and female, and undertaking other supporting interventions, consistent with the Convention's provisions, according to Simpson Miller.

The prime minister's announcement received rousing applause and approval from guests attending the reception, including president of the 3,600-member strong Jamaica Household Workers Union, Shirley Pryce, who has long advocated the ratification.

Simpson Miller, at the same time, highlighted the bureau's growth and development since its inception, pointing out that by "learning from the successes and failures of the 40 years", the organisation is now better positioned for an even more effective future.

She said that consequent on its role in advancing the welfare of women and the positive results arising, the bureau has been and remains pivotal to national development. In this regard, she commended the bureau's leadership over the years, for spearheading and guiding the positive image in which the agency has been shaped.

The prime minister also noted the exploits of the women who advocated protection of the rights and welfare of their colleagues during the pre-independence period.

"They were stalwarts who worked to change the attitudes and the conditions which held our women back and limited both their rights and the value which they could add to development of the broader society," Simpson Miller said.

She urged the audience to remember the part played by the country's political leadership to this end, through changes effected to the institutional and legal frameworks, policies, and conditions, which ultimately laid the foundation to safeguard the welfare of Jamaican women, safeguard them against discrimination, and advance their growth and development.

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