Friday, 3 June 2011

Update No. 1 - 100th ILC - Geneva, Switzerland

OPENING CEREMONY/DAY 1 AND DAY 2
June 1-2, 2011


The 100th International Labour Conference with the theme “Building a future with decent work” officially opened on Wednesday, 1 June 2011. Addressing some 3000 government, employer and worker delegates,ILO DG Juan Somavia emphasised on the new era of social justice.

Special guest, Finnish President Tarja Halonen cited the “absence of social justice” in the world, and said the ILO’s “values and policies are needed more than ever to create “a world with fewer tensions, greater fairness and strengthened security.”

In the afternoon, before the meeting on the Committee on Domestic Workers, the Workers’ Group met to discuss Art 1-9 of the Convention on Domestic Workers.

The Committee on Domestic Workers met at 3.30pm. Hans Cacdac, Deputy Minister of Labour, Philippines was elected unopposed as the Chairperson of the Domestic Workers Committee. Halimah Yaacob was elected as the Vice Chairperson of the Workers' Group and Paul Mackay was elected as the Vice Chairperson for the Employers’ Group.

Twenty-three Governments presented their preliminary statements where some expressed concerns of the descriptiveness and rigidity of the wordings of the Convention which would be difficult to implement in the national levels. (Malaysia was not amongst these governments)

It was most welcoming to hear Indonesia and Morocco who had not supported the Convention last year, change their positions to support the Convention.

On Thursday, 2 June 2011, the Workers’ Group met at 10-11 am to discuss Art 10-15 with emphasis on discrimination, young domestic workers and payment of wages in kind.

At the 11am session of the Committee on Domestic Workers, 5 Civil Society Groups (including 2 domestic workers) were given 20 minutes to present their statements on better protection for domestic workers. The employers made a positive statement favouring the Convention supported by a Recommendation. However, the employers were concerned that the Convention would not be meaningful if it is too flexible. This may result in major provisions for domestic workers being excluded from the international labour standards.

The Workers’ Group Chairperson concluded the session by stating that many governments have been motivated to establish/amend national legislations for the better protection of domestic workers. For example the UAE which has developed a model contract.

More updates tomorrow!!


Malaysian workers' representatives at the ILC 2011

Parimala N
Mohammad Harun Al Rashid
Glorene Das
Sumitha Shaanthinni Kishna


Photo courtesy of Eman C. Villanueva, UFDWR delegate to the ILC.


(2 June 2011, 3.45pm - Geneva, Switzerland)

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