Saturday, 4 June 2011

Update No. 2 - 100th ILC - Geneva, Switzerland


June 3, 2011

The day started with the all workers meeting of the committee on domestic workers. This is the usual practice of the workers – to meet and consolidate the group’s position on each propose amendment so that the group’s spokesperson can articulate this during the tripartite deliberations.

Day 3 is particularly crucial as this is where the title and the preamble of the draft convention were discussed and subsequently adopted by the tripartite committee on domestic workers. Meanwhile, the committee has also adopted articles 1 to 4 with no major departure from the text of the “Blue Report”.

In so far as the title, preamble and articles that were agreed upon, we can say that the workers’ position has been getting relatively good support from the governments and in several instances, even from the employers’ group.

The fact that the tripartite deliberation generally speaking is a consensus building process where compromises on the part of all three parties are sometimes or oftentimes necessary, it is important to note that the workers’ group has yet to give any major compromise.

In fact, one major achievement of the workers’ group was the adoption by the tripartite committee of a workers’ group proposed amendment on Article No. 3 by adding another paragraph that further strengthens the clause on the rights of domestic workers (and employers of domestic workers) to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

While the exact proposal of the workers’ group did not get through, it successfully convinced the employers and the governments to accept the addition of the full text of the Article 2.b (combined into one paragraph) of the draft Recommendations as an additional paragraph under Article 3 of the draft Convention after a lengthy discussion.

The Chairman of the committee adjourned the tripartite session by 9:30 PM.

Tomorrow, June 4, the Committee on Domestic Workers will resume its session by 11:00 AM starting with the proposed amendments on Article 5 of the draft convention.

We hope that the workers’ initial gains will continue.

Report by Eman C. Villanueva, Vice Chairperson of the Filipino Migrant Workers' Union (FMWU) in Hong Kong and the representative of the UFDWR and the Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body (AMCB) to the 100th ILC in Geneva.

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