On March 9, Elizabeth Tang, General Secretary of the International Federation of Domestic Workers (IDWF) was arrested by the Hong Kong National Security police who alleged that she had endangered national security. Since her arrest the IUF has been in regular contact with the IDWF, a special group within the IUF. We continue to monitor the situation. The IUF fully supports the statement issued today by the IDWF.
IDWF stands with our General Secretary, Elizabeth Tang
On behalf of over 670,000 domestic workers members across the globe, the Executive Committee of the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) extend our deepest respect and solidarity with Elizabeth Tang. Not only is she the General Secretary of IDWF, she is also a leader in the global labour movement, a sister to many, and a mother of the domestic workers movement worldwide.
On 9 March, 2023, Elizabeth was arrested by the Hong Kong National Security police under allegations of “endangering national security”. She is currently out on bail awaiting to see how her case will unfold.
The IDWF categorically refutes all the allegations against Elizabeth. We stand in solidarity with Elizabeth, one of the world’s most principled and prominent women trade union leaders and activists.
Elizabeth began her career in the 1980s and co-founded the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions in 1990 where she served as its Executive Director for 16 years. In 2009, Elizabeth joined the domestic and household workers’ movement, supporting them in organizing to raise their voices and visibility. In 2010, she helped found the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Worker Unions, while leading the global network of domestic workers in a campaign that led to the 2011 adoption of ILO Convention 189 concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers. This historic achievement has been a major step towards the protection and recognition of millions of domestic workers around the world, sparking a seismic shift in society towards respecting and valuing the vital contribution of these most vulnerable and ‘invisible’ workers. To date, the ILO Convention 189 has been ratified by 36 countries.
Through Elizabeth’s work, the domestic workers’ movement evolved into a global federation in 2013 with the primary goal of advocating for the rights of domestic workers worldwide. Over a decade, it has grown into a vibrant and dynamic global Federation representing 88 affiliates from 68 countries and close to 670,000 domestic, household and care workers. It is the only global union that is led by women and representing a predominately women membership.
The IDWF and its affiliates are closely following developments in Hong Kong and are documenting all reports. We are deeply grateful for all the messages of support and solidarity from our allies, partners, friends and our members from all corners of the globe.
Together we stand! Elizabeth will never walk alone!