PRESS RELEASE: 16 June 2012
Hundreds of Migrant Domestic Workers in Ireland Join the International Campaign for Recognition on International Domestic Workers Day and are Calling for Minister Bruton to Act Now and Ratify the ILO Convention 189.
Today, International Domestic Workers Day, from Ireland to Saudi Arabia to Columbia, millions of domestic workers are marking the first anniversary of the adoption of the UN International Labour Organisations (ILO) Convention on decent work for domestic workers by calling on governments to ratify the convention adopted almost unanimously last June in Geneva.
Approximately 100 million domestic workers world-wide won international recognition when C189 was adopted after a 63 year battle to get rights for domestic workers on the ILO agenda. Now, the battle is to get countries to ratify it. Globally, hundreds of thousands of domestic workers, mostly women and girls, live in situations of modern day slavery. In many countries domestic workers have no rights and are totally excluded from all labour laws.
Mariaam Bhatti a migrant domestic worker and activists with the Domestic Workers Action Group (DWAG) said, “Today is about being in solidarity with our fellow domestic workers across the world, many are suffering in silence and have no voice. We are calling on the Irish government to act now and show leadership. We need commitment to ratifying the convention and to support putting an end to practices of slavery and abuse of domestic workers around the world”.
The call to action is part of an international campaign, ‘12 in 12’ organised by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to get 12 countries to ratify the convention in 2012. Uruguay was the first to ratify this year. The Irish government voted in favour of the convention last year but has yet to commit to ratifying the convention contents into Irish law.
Aoife Smith of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) warns that Ireland should not be complacent
“In recent years MRCI has uncovered over forty cases of modern day slavery and domestic servitude. We have also seen a marked increase in the exploitation of domestic workers employed by embassies and diplomatic staff in Ireland. This is unacceptable; the government needs to act now and ratify convention 189 to send a message to employers that exploitation of domestic workers will not be tolerated”.
Notes for Editors:
The Call to Action is part of ‘12 in 12 Campaign’ an international campaign for ratification of the ILO Convention no.189
MRCI Domestic Workers Action Group Survey, 2010
The domestic work sector holds the second largest percentage of complaints made to MRCI.
40% of domestic workers surveyed do not have an employment contract
38% are paid under the minimum wage (with severe cases as low as €2 per hour)
42% do not receive payslips
Two thirds of those surveyed experienced exploitations as a domestic worker in Ireland
30% work Sundays and Bank holidays without extra pay or a day off.
44% raised a complaint with their employer about their unfair treatment and long working hours but their concern was ignored and nothing changed.