Ratify ILO Convention 189, 190 to eliminate violence and harassment – Workers

domestic workers
domestic workers

Domestic Services Workers Union of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has appealed to government to ratify the International Labour Organisation Conventions (ILO) 189 and 190 on decent work in order to eliminate violence and harassment.

The workers said their activities have been saddled with sexual harassment, low wages, long working hours, gender-based violence and unsafe working conditions.

They said their activities have no social protection, maternity cover, social security, lack of recognition as workers, no terms of employment as well as lack of formal contract.

“These factors contribute to making domestic workers vulnerable to all forms of sexual and economic exploitation,” the workers said at a press conference held in Accra to celebrate the World Day for Decent Work which fell on October 7, this year.

The event was held under the theme: “Unions unite for investment in care for decent jobs and gender equality.”

Speaking at the Press Conference, Ms Bernice Mawuli, Secretary of the Domestic Services Workers Union, Koforidua Branch, urged government and other duty bearers to do more than pay lip service to issues affecting members.

She said over 1,000 members across the country in the informal work space face various challenges that did not allow them to benefit from the decent work agenda.

Ms Mawuli expressed satisfaction that government is developing the draft labour (Domestic Workers) Regulation 2019 and urged government to expedite action in passing the regulation into law.

She said ratifying the ILO Convention 190 which tackles elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work, would enhance economic activities of the country.

“We want government to speed up the process to enact the Labour (Domestic Workers) Regulation 2019 in accordance with the Labour Act 2003, (Act 651).

Political parties must do well to include the issues of Domestic Service Workers in their manifestoes,” Ms Mawuli said.

The ILO describes domestic work as “work for private households often with no clear terms of employment, unregistered in any book and excluded from the scope of labour legislation”.

Currently there are at least 67-million domestic workers worldwide.

Madam Eva Attakpah, President of the Domestic Services Workers Union, shared her experience explaining how she was constantly sexually harassed by her boss in a previous employment.

She said some of her colleagues have had to quit their jobs because of sexual harassment by their bosses.

Due to sexual harassment, Madam Attakpah said some members are not paid for work done adding that there has been instances where some members suffer emotional and psychological trauma.

She recounted how a colleague was sexually abused by a man and his son.

Madam Attakpah said the colleague later became pregnant and was sacked by her employers adding that her predicament compelled her to seek shelter on the street.

She was happy that the TUC‘s Legal Department has taken up some of these sexual harassment cases meted out on some members.

Madam Adwoa Sakyi, Technical Advisor to Domestic Services Worker Union, said the effort to the mark the World Day for Decent Work was to help create awareness on the ratification of the ILO 189 Convention as well allow member to share their experiences.

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