Domestic workers: Step towards an ILO international convention

The Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) decided yesterday to include the item “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” on the agenda of the 99th session (2010) of the International Labour Conference.The ITUC welcomes this step towards better international protection of the rights of domestic workers. “This is an historic advance in the fight on behalf of millions of domestic workers who today face widespread exploitation and are prevented from enjoying decent working conditions,” said Guy Ryder, general secretary of the ITUC.

Excessively long working hours, low pay, little social security, sexual harassment, physical violence, abuses by the recruiting agents, forced labour, an increasing use of child labour… the situation described in the document submitted to the members of the ILO’s Governing Body meeting in Geneva from 6 to 20 March once again sheds light on the extreme vulnerability of this group of workers, particularly migrants and women, and the desperate lack of decent work. Hitherto ignored by international law, these workers are all too often excluded from national labour legislation and deprived of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

The ITUC, together with the international trade union group Global Unions and the Workers’ Group of the ILO Governing Body, had called on its affiliated organisations to urge the governments of the countries represented on the ILO Governing Body to support the proposal to draw up an international convention designed specifically to protect domestic workers.

“The ILO has long been arguing in favour of a specific legal instrument for this particularly vulnerable category of workers. This step towards the development of a new legal instrument should contribute to filling a huge gap in terms of promoting decent work for all,” said Sir Roy Trotman, Spokesperson of the Workers’ Group of the ILO Governing Body.

-See the interview with Barbro Budin (IUF -Equality): “New ILO Convention for domestic workers: an urgent need” published by the ITUC on 7 March http://www.ituc-csi.org/spip.php?article1895 

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3 Responses to “Domestic workers: Step towards an ILO international convention”


  1. 1 Shashi Sail January 13, 2009 at 7:46 am

    National Alliance of Women (NAWO) is involved in organizing Domestic Workers in 6 Northern States of India.

    We need information on the forth coming International Conference on “Domestic Workers” in 2010.

    We are interested in organizing training programme for Domestic Workers in these 5 States as proposed by ILO.

    We are working to mobilize a National demand from Domestic Workers for a National Legislation for Domestic Workers. We are conducting a signature campaign among the Domestic Workers in support of this demand. The signature campaign will be submitted to the President of India in March, 2009.

    • 2 Indira Saxena March 6, 2010 at 3:47 am

      Ref: Domestic Workers Training
      We had meeting with the inmates oh Snehlaya, a shortstay home for women. (This is Govt./Social Board assisted home) run by Mahila Dakshata Samiti
      While discussing their problems and how to make their enjoyable and happy. Few points emerged which I would like to share with you and see in what way you may be part of sharing my target of removing gloominess from the personality of these underprivileged helpless women.
      1. Training and placement opportunity as good domestic help
      2. Learning skills to become good Aaya
      3. House keeping skills
      4. Cooking
      5. General etiquettes
      6. Computer skills
      7. Crafts skills up gradation
      8. Little bit of English speaking
      9. Keeping fit solutions and personal and surrounding Hygiene
      Like wise there were 3-4 more issues.
      My aim of writing to you the selective points is because they are mostly relevant to my request to you.
      We have been imparting such training, but to individuals (while their cases were either in court or were thrown out from house without any back-support) though we have some in-house capable trainners for all such training, but lot more is required to kickoff the training schedule for a group. More may be discussed if you desire so.
      Your attention towards this cause is solicited.
      Thanking you
      Indira Saxena Ph: 09810114628

      My referee from present or retired ILO may be:
      Beth Goodson (ILO Geneva)
      Stirling Smith (ILO Delhi)
      Mia Osmundson ( ILO Geneva)
      Adarsh Sarvaria (ILO Decent work Project Delhi Office)
      Christine Nathan (ILO Bangkok)


  1. 1 To save even one person makes a difference… Combating Human Trafficking in the Americas « Caritas Internationalis Trackback on November 13, 2008 at 11:07 am

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