Domestic workers won one of the best fought and most justified victories ever on June 16 2011 when ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers was adopted. The voices, experiences and visions of domestic workers themselves were finally heard and respected, not only within the trade union movement but also by governments and many employers.
The momentum built up within the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN) to take part in the ILO process leading to the Convention was impressive and inspiring. Domestic workers raised awareness and mobilized worldwide support in a way that could be a lesson for many.
Domestic workers know that the victory is not complete until C189 is translated into national legal instruments and collective agreements. Even then, they know they face a permanent struggle for rights and standards. Now, perhaps an even harder fight must be fought.
Uncompromising support from the whole trade union movement is crucial. We are confident that unions around the world will actively support the struggle of domestic workers for equal rights with other workers.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to show your solidarity with domestic workers by adding your voice to the campaign for the ratification of C189 (see here for more).