PRESS RELEASE: 7 March 2012
Migrant Domestic Workers Call on Gov to Ratify ILO Convention and Recognise their Work
Hundreds of migrant women employed as domestic workers in Ireland are demanding their dignity on International Women’s Day. The Domestic Workers Acton Group (DWAG) is calling on the State to protect vulnerable women workers and to ratify international laws that recognise rights for domestic workers. DWAG and SIPTU are calling on Minister Bruton to make a public commitment to bring national laws in line with the requirements of the ILO Convention to address exploitation in this sector.
Worldwide, domestic workers are campaigning for governments to ratify the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers which they unanimously voted for at the UN last year. This was a landmark in the 63 year-long struggle to get recognition of rights for domestic workers.
Mariaam Bhatti of DWAG says: “Ratification is essential. Domestic workers are integral to the economic structure and the well being of every society, and yet so many of us suffer physical, emotional and psychological abuse on a daily basis. We have rights. We have dignity. We want the government to shout with us: “exploitation of domestic workers will not be tolerated in Ireland”.
Echoing the words of Mariaam Bhatti, John King (SIPTU) said Minister Bruton has an opportunity to send out a strong and clear message that the abuse of domestic workers who come to work in Ireland will not be tolerated. “The Minister should be proactive and today, International Women’s Day, he should affirm his commitment to ensuring the welfare and rights of all working women by stating his intent to adopt the ILO Convention 189”. He said the Minister should “commit to introducing any required legislative changes so as to give robust protective measures to ensure the protection of these vulnerable workers”.
Notes for Editors:
Domestic Worker ILO Campaign Steering Group: www.domesticworkerrights.org
MRCI Domestic Workers Action Group Survey, 2010
The domestic work sector holds the second largest percentage of complaints made to MRCI. A 2010 DWAG research survey shows:
40% of domestic workers surveyed do not have an employment contract
38% are paid under the minimum wage (with severe cases as lo w 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.