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posted 2 Oct 2011, 16:30 by Gerry Kangalee
The National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE) will be observing World Day for Decent Work on 7th October, 2011 at the Arima Town Hall on Sorzano Street, Arima. The event will begin with a Press Conference at 3.00 pm. One of our main speakers would be Mr. Pierre Francois Recoing, Specialist Labour Standards and Labour Law at the International Labour Organisation Port of Spain Office.

There will also be display booths set up by the Ministry of Labour Small and Micro Enterprise Development, National Insurance Board, the International Labour Organisation and NUDE as we continue to educate workers on their rights and entitlements under the law.

NUDE joins with millions of workers around the world in a united mobilisation for change. This is a Day that is organised by the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) and every year millions of people participate in countries around the globe. It is a Day Trade Unionist around the World stand up for Decent Work. This year, our focus here in Trinidad is on the recently adopted ILO CONVENTION NO. 189 ON DECENT WORK FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS.

This historic Convention, the result of years of struggle by domestic workers’ organizations and allies in trade unions, governments and the ILO, represents a huge step forward for domestic workers. Ratification and implementation of the Convention will mean that Domestic Workers would be able to enjoy the same rights as all other workers, the right to be recognised as workers under the law, the right to organise and bargain collectively, the right to severance benefits when our jobs become redundant, the right to be covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Law and, most important, the right to recourse in instances of wrongful dismissal claims.

The ITUC posits that Decent Work must be at the centre of government actions to bring back economic growth and build a new global economy that puts people first.

We in Trinidad and Tobago have been fighting for decades for the amendment of the Industrial Relations Act to include Domestics as Workers under the definition of Worker. Domestic Workers take care of society, nurture them, prepare their food, feed them and take care of most of their needs yet we are not considered as workers. We continue to work long hours (especially the ‘Live In’ domestic workers, who are often expected to work round the clock), often for very low wages, and under deplorable working conditions. The ILO Convention will change all of that.

Already the governments of Jamaica and Barbados are working towards ratification of Convention 189 and are already revising, amending and enacting labour legislation to reflect the Convention. However, this change will not be handed to us on a silver platter: we are now experiencing the last rounds of the fight. We have to stand up for these rights. That is why we are using this day to make ourselves visible and call on government to give us the change we need and must have.

Along with NUDE, the Jamaica Household Workers Association and Red Thread of Guyana will host press conferences and activities to celebrate the passing of the Convention, to further sensitise domestic workers on the issue of their Rights and entitlements and to promote the concept of Decent Work
Gerry Kangalee,
2 Oct 2011, 16:34