After years of fighting for better treatment and equal rights, the Jamaica Household Workers’ Association (JHWA) was formally registered as a trade union on March 15. The event was celebrated by more than 200 domestic workers in the presence of the Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and the Minister of Labour Derrick Keller, and numerous guests including ILO representative Paula Robinson, IDWN chair Myrtle Witbooi, the general secretary of NUDE and co convener of the Caribbean domestic workers’ network, Ida Leblanc and the IUF Caribbean regional secretary, Clifton Grant.
JHWA was first established in 1991 and the launch as a registered trade union will according to its general secretary, Shirley Pryce, help to strengthen their fight for the rights of domestic workers in Jamaica. The union has currently 2000 members and the potential membership is around 58 000.
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour assured the domestic workers that they supported C189 and hoped that the ratification procedures could be finalized before the June conference of the ILO.