Wednesday, 1 June 2011

International Labour Conference (ILC) Day One

The International Labour Conference opened today on the 1st of June, this years conference is especially importance as there will be a vote for adoption of the proposed Convention and Recommendation on Domestic Work! We will update the progress on this blog, starting with the open letter from IMWU and FMWU:

Open letter of migrant unionists to the Hong Kong government delegation to the 100th session of the International Labour Conference

As the International Labour Organization - the United Nations agency tasked to oversee the drawing up and implementation of international labour standards - starts the 100th session of the International Labour Conference, we, migrant unionists call for the Hong Kong government to stand firm for the interest of domestic workers in the deliberations for a Convention Supplemented by a Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

This year's ILC marks a historic period for domestic workers for at long last, a convention that is focused on the sector of the workers that is one of the most neglected shall be made by the ILO.

With more than 300,000 domestic workers, mostly women from Asian countries, it is imperative for Hong Kong government to take an active role in the process.

It is a rare opportunity for foreign domestic workers' groups to be represented in the ILC. As representatives of foreign domestic workers in the ILC, the Indonesian Migrant Workers' Union (IMWU) and the Filipino Migrant Workers' Union (FMWU) urge the Hong Kong government to:

1. Uphold the principle of non-discrimination of foreign domestic workers in the economic, social, civil and political spheres;
2. Promote women's concerns and ensure that provisions in the convention will contain specific measures to address women domestic workers' plight;
3. Uphold the right of foreign domestic workers to accessible and adequate social services;
4. Promote an environment that will enable foreign domestic workers to practice their right to organize and to collective actions;
5. Protect foreign domestic workers from exploitative practices of recruitment agencies, financing agencies and other private entities involved in the migration process, and;
6. Uphold the right to redress of foreign domestic workers and the development of a grievance system and judicial process that is accessible to FDWs.

Afterwards, we also call for the Hong Kong government to use the hoped for pro-worker, pro-migrant and pro-women convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers as the yardstick to review current policies implemented for FDWs and make the necessary reforms.

For years, FDWs in Hong Kong have raised concerns on the Two-Week Rule, the Minimum Allowable Wage process and the mandatory live-in employment arrangement. Additionally, FDWs and NGOs have also raised concerns on some of the more common practices on the matters of days off, working hours, and treatment of government agencies to FDWs. Recently, FDWs were also excluded from the Statutory Minimum Wage.

We call on the Hong Kong government to reflect on these concerns as the world discusses the plight of domestic workers.

The 100
th session of the ILC carries the theme "Building a Future with Decent Work". We look forward to such a future. We shall continue to act to build such a future.

Indonesian Migrant Workers' Union (IMWU)
Filipino Migrant Workers' Union (FMWU)

No comments: