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Domestic Workers Call on Irish Government to Protect Domestic Workers Rights & End Abuse

Domestic Workers Call on Irish Government to Protect Domestic Workers Rights & End Abuse

PRESS RELEASE: 6 October 2012

Today, the Domestic Workers Action Group (DWAG) hosts a Solidarity Stroll calling on Minister Bruton to protect vulnerable workers and commit to ratifying the International Convention on domestic work.   This event, on the eve of World Decent Work Day Sunday 7th saw domestic workers and supporters walk from the Dáil to Stephens Green as part of a global campaign taking place in 83 countries.

Worldwide, over 100 million workers are employed in private homes.  Domestic workers clean, cook, do laundry and provide care for children and the elderly on a daily basis.  Their work is undervalued, underpaid, invisible and not recognised.  Across the globe the majority of domestic workers are women (82%) - many are migrants or children and it is a sector with high incidences of abuse, domestic servitude and child labour.

“The exploitation of domestic workers is not only a global problem as it is happening in Ireland too.  In Ireland, we have seen an increase in cases of trafficking for forced labour, abuse of domestic workers employed in embassies and the severe mistreatment of au pairs” said Mariaam Bhatti, childminder and DWAG activist.  She went onto say “The government needs to show leadership and ratify the Convention to address the exploitation of women working in private homes in this country. It’s the right thing to do”

SIPTU Ireland largest trade union is also calling for the ratification of ILO Convention 189 in 2012 and has represented a number of domestic workers.  “Our Union fully endorses and supports this campaign.  It is essential that the profile of domestic workers is raised so they can demand the same rights as all other workers in Ireland.   We believe domestic workers must continue to organise in order to demand fairness, justice and respect for their work,” stated Owen Reidy SIPTU Sector Organiser of the Contract Cleaning and Security Services sector of SIPTU.


Notes for Editors:

Visit for info on global campaign

MRCI Domestic Workers Action Group Survey, 2010

40% of domestic workers surveyed do not have an employment contract

38% are paid under the minimum wage (with severe cases as low as €0.25 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.