Monday, 28 February 2011

New "blue report" from the ILO

Report IV(1) was sent out to ILO constituents for their feedback in August 2010. Report IV(2A) contains the essential points of the replies received from governments and from employers’ and workers’ organization, as well as the Office commentary. On this basis, the Office prepared Report IV(2B) which contains a revised proposed Convention and Recommendation, and which will serve as a basis for the discussion at the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference.
Click here to go to the website

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stronger rules needed to protect domestic workers

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The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 02/16/2011 11:45 AM | National

More domestic workers in the country will suffer mistreatment unless the government and the House of Representatives counterparts pass a law on domestic workers protection, activists say.

Many female domestic workers, including women and girls, were living and working under poor conditions, where they were being exploited economically and suffering physical, psychological and sexual violence routinely, said Lita Anggraini, Coordinator of the National Network on Domestic Workers Advocacy (Jala PRT), on Tuesday.

“They haven’t benefitted from the same rights and protections that other workers receive,” she said.

The Indonesian government had not shown adequate response to the abuse and mistreatment the workers endured, she added.

According to Jala PRT, Indonesia has 10 million domestic workers at home and 6 million abroad, ranking it among the highest number of domestic workers worldwide. Instead of better working conditions, more domestic workers are facing abuse and mistreatment.

Citing the latest data, Lita said abuse and mistreatment of Indonesian domestic workers reached 726 cases in the last five years, including 536 cases of unpaid salary, of which 348 cases affected children domestic workers. Of the 726 cases, 617 involved torture and isolation of the workers at home, making them more vulnerable to mistreatment.

Many domestic workers suffered serious wounds and even died from regular mistreatment. Many cases affecting domestic workers were reported by neighbors.

Apart from torture, domestic workers face other violations of their rights as workers.

Jumiyem, an activist of Serikat PRT Tunas Mulia in Yogyakarta, said many domestic workers were living a far from reasonably comfortable life.

“They face living conditions as if they are slaves. Many of them are underpaid or not receiving wages,” she told The Jakarta Post over the telephone.

Moreover, many workers are facing excessive workloads, unclear job responsibilities, and excessive working hours, reaching between 12 to 16 hours per day, which might negatively affect their health.

Such a strong dichotomy between domestic workers and labor in other sectors has meant unfair and discriminative policies towards domestic workers. Furthermore, they are unable to get legal protection at local, national and international levels.

Amnesty International (AI) said Indonesian domestic workers, which are mostly women and children, are susceptible to exploitation and mistreatment unless the government and its counterparts in the legislature pass a Law on Domestic Workers Protection.

AI’s Asia Pacific Director, Sam Zarifi, said on Tuesday that about 2.6 million Indonesian domestic workers lacked access to legal protection.

“Up to now, domestic workers in Indonesia have not received strong legal protection compared to workers in other sectors,” he said, as quoted by Antara news portal.

He believes the 2003 Law on Manpower has discriminated against domestic workers. This law has not provided equal treatment for domestic workers and workers from other sectors, in terms of working hours and vacation.

Nova Riyanti Yusuf, a member of Commission IX overseeing health, labor, and social issues at the House, said the legislature was prioritizing the draft law on domestic worker protection to be debated this year.

“We face no substantive objections on this draft law,” she said. (ebf)

Press release from Taiwan on Filipino Migrant Workers

The Philippine government must prioritize its own people in Taiwan over the issue of Diplomacy

The Taiwan Committee for Philippine Concerns (TCPC) is very much concerned about how the Philippine government is treating its own people here in Taiwan as it aims to patch the diplomatic issues with China.

TCPC finds the deportation by the Philippines of 14 Taiwanese nationals to Mainland China condemnable because the Philippine government salvages its diplomatic relations with China at the expense of its own people working in Taiwan.

The TCPC, a network of individuals from different sectors (i.e. labor, indigenous people, academe, students and marriage migrants) in Taiwan concerned with Philippine issues, would like to remind Philippine President Benigno Aquino III that the Filipinos who are working in countries like Taiwan are the “lifeblood” of the Philippine economy. TCPC urges the Philippine government prioritize its own people in Taiwan over the issue of diplomacy.

It has been known publicly that Philippine diplomacy will only benefit those who hold positions in the government. This is somewhat reminiscent of the ZTE scandal that the previous Philippine government was involved in.

On the other hand, we deplore those people in Taiwan who demand the freeze-hiring of Filipino migrants as a retaliatory move to the Philippine government’s diplomatic backlash. These people in Taiwan must open their eyes on how migrant workers are helping to develop our economy and provide care to our elderly and ill family members. It is hypocritical and unwise for them to use migrants as sacrificial lambs.

We in TCPC are witnesses to the continuing abuse and exploitation experienced by Filipinos and other migrants in Taiwan. Despite the efforts of civil society organizations and migrant service providers to protect the rights of migrants in Taiwan, they will not be enough as long as the sending governments such as the Philippines continue to put more weight on political diplomacy rather than ensure the protection of their own people abroad such as those working here in Taiwan.

We believe that political diplomacy can be more beneficial if the concerns of their countrymen are put in the forefront.

Lastly, we call on the people of the Philippines and Taiwan not to be divided and instead continue to develop stronger people to people cooperation and solidarity.

15 February 2011

Reference: Hsiao-Chuan Hsia (Chairperson of TCPC)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Urgent Appeal for Decent Work for Domestic Workers

Dear friends, DW organizations/unions/network, trade unions/network, women, human rights, labour,  organizations/networks

Greetings of solidarity from Jala PRT Indonesia,

Sisters and brothers, on 15th February 2011, we in Indonesia will commemorate the 5th Indonesian Domestic Workers Day since the day was launched in 2007. The background to this Domestic Workers Day surrounds the case of 14 year-old domestic worker Sunarsih, who was assaulted by her employer leading to her death in 2001, in the city of Surabaya.

Every year fellow domestic workers, domestic workers organizations and unions and the domestic workers network - JALA PRT - together with organizations and trade unions: KSBSI, KSPI, KSPSI, FSPMI, women's organizations that are concerned with the issue of domestic workers, commemorate DOMESTIC WORKERS DAY and remind the state, especially the Government and Parliament, about their continued failure to provide protection and to fulfil the rights of domestic workers. The momentum of this day is also used to campaign publicly on the importance of household work and domestic workers. In Indonesia, where the community is extremely dependent on the role and work of domestic workers, many employers and their families would be unable to work and do other activities if there were no domestic workers, for example during Eid el Fitri holidays when domestic workers usually return home to their village.

This 5th anniversary means that 10 years has passed since the death of Sunarsih, yet there has been no change with regards to the protection of domestic workers in Indonesia. As we know, Indonesia is a   country with one of largest numbers of domestic workers, including 10 million local domestic workers and six million migrant domestic workers. Ten years has passed but may other “Sunarsih” incidents still continue to occur and have even increased.

At the end of 2010, the Indonesian Parliament had planned to discuss the draft law on the Protection of Domestic Workers in 2010. However the plan was then abandoned. Similar to the Indonesian Parliament, the Government also does not seem to have the political will to pass a domestic workers law, and does not support an ILO Convention for the protection of domestic workers that was discussed during the 99th Session of the ILC (International Labour Conference) from 3 to 18 June 2010 in Geneva. The Government of Indonesia, as the country with the largest number of domestic workers in Asia and well as in the world, should be very concerned about the protection of domestic workers, yet it did not support the Convention. This attitude of the Indonesian Government and Parliament has allowed for the systematic violation of the rights of domestic workers.

Therefore we need to continue to advocate and collectively urge the Government and Parliament to take responsibility for the protection of domestic workers by deliberating and implementing a Domestic Workers Protection Act and support the establishment of the ILO Convention and Recommendations concerning decent work for domestic workers and ratify it.

Considering the situation of domestic workers, and the opportunities and momentum this Domestic Workers Day brings in Indonesia, we would like to invite our fellow friends, brothers and sisters, domestic workes organization/union, trade unions, women's organizations and various human rights, and workers organizations, networks to join together and urge the Government and Parliament, by writing and sending a Letter of Appeal, in support and in solidarity with Indonesian domestic workers to encourage the Government and the Parliament to immediately pass the Domestic Workers Bill and support the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the 100th Session of the ILC in June 2011.

Please send your letter of solidarity via email to

We conclude by conveying our gratitude for your spirit and solidarity.
In Solidarity:
-     JALA PRT (National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy)
-     Serikat PRT Tunas Mulia (Tunas Mulia Domestic Workers Union)
-     Kongres Operata Yogyakarta
-     Organisasi Pekerja Rumah Tangga Teratai Medan (Teratai Domestic Workers Organization from Medan)
-     Organisasi Pekerja Rumah Tangga Merdeka Semarang (Merdeka Domestic Workers Organization  from Semarang)
-     Persatuan Pekerja Rumah Tangga Jakarta (Domestic Workers Unity from Jakarta)
-     Komite Aksi Pekerja Rumah Tangga (Domestic Workers Action Committee): KSBSI, KSPI, KSPSI, FSPMI, SBMI
-     Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development