Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Update No. 4 - 100th ILC - Geneva, Switzerland

June 7, 2011

“And so the Domestic Workers Convention in its entirety is hereby adopted, and so it is adopted”.

A loud and lengthy applause filled the room XVIII of the Palais des Nations after the chairman of the Committee on Domestic Workers hit the gavel and declared the adoption of the text of the historic convention on domestic workers.

After decades of struggle by domestic workers, their unions and associations, NGOs and advocates – the landmark convention that will recognize domestic work as work and where domestic workers should be treated no less than any other workers is now a reality.

Despite the repeated attempts of the representatives of the EU governments to dilute the text of the convention, the persistence of the workers and their effective lobbying and pressuring of their respective governments prevailed.

The EU’s proposed amendments became the major stumbling block up to the last minute of the tripartite committee deliberation on the text of the convention. Even governments gave strong remarks, particularly Australia, Brazil and the Africa group, on the repeated attempts of “members” (obviously referring to the EU) to dilute the convention and render it too weak to protect the rights of domestic workers.

As the committee adjourned for the day’s session, the workers start to sing with joy and happiness full of hope and determination to continue the struggle for the rights and dignity of the more than 100 million domestic workers all over the world.

Tomorrow, June 8, the committee will start its deliberation on the text of the recommendation. The final text of the convention and recommendation will be presented for voting at the ILC plenary on June 15-16.

“We are Workers, We are Not Slaves!”

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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