Domestic Workers seek C 189 in handling labour migration

Domestic workers in Ghana have commemorated the 5th International Domestic Workers Day 2016 with a pledge to continually call on government to ratify ILO Convention 189 so that issues regarding migrant domestic workers can be tackled holistically.

Group photo of Participants
Group photo of Participants

The day, which was celebrated under auspices of Domestic Services Workers Union (DSWU) with sponsorship from the International Union of Food (IUF), was on the theme “Labour Migration and Domestic Work in Ghana.” It had the objectives of building knowledge base about issues of migration and share experiences on what Trade Unions are doing in that sector.

Group photo of Participants
Group photo of Participants
On June 16, 2011 the International Labour Conference adopted C 189 concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers along with Recommendation 201, guidelines for implementation of the Convention. Since then June 16 has been commemorated yearly as IDW Day.

Speaking at the commemoration last week at the GNAT Hall in Accra, Sis. Adwoa Sakyi, IUF Africa Women’s Project Coordinator, said IUF and IDWF have supported domestic workers globally to come together to take the lead in their self-organization and create an organization which suit the character of domestic work and thus the formation of Domestic Services Workers Union with a strong democratic structures.

In implementing global standards on domestic work, she quoted ILO Convention 189 article 3 subsections 3, which emphasizes among other things that in enjoying freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, domestic workers shall protect their rights and that of their employers to establish and to join organizations of their own choosing.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations have initiated the validation process for the Domestic Workers Regulation, with hope that they add the ratification of ILO C189 to their work.

Mrs. Phyllis Agyemang, Eastern Regional, Secretary, TUC Ghana said Labour Migration is an important issue that needs to be dealt with and that the migration of people, either within countries or across international borders, dates back to the creation of mankind.

She hinted, however, that as migration is linked to the world of work and the quest for decent work opportunities, Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES ) Ghana has done a study on Labour Migration in Ghana that she was one of the researchers, which domestic workers and the public need to know so as to take informed decisions whenever they desire to travel and thus avoid the pitfalls of illegal migration with its fatal hazards.

The event, was attended by 45 participants comprising 25 women and 20 men, and was chaired by Sis. Eva Attakpah, the National Chairperson of DSWU.

In her welcome address, Sis. Esther Kosi, DSWU General Secretary, said the union has come to strengthen the mobilization of domestic workers for the purposes of attaining respect and recognition for the services this class of workers have been providing.

During discussions, participants expressed sentiments about the hazards associated with migration and some told of their personal negative migration experiences as well as what they know of other people stories.

By Amewuga Ablordeppey

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