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HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS DAY - JUNE 16TH by Ida Le Blanc

posted 15 Jun 2015, 20:39 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 15 Jun 2015, 20:40 ]
WE MUST PROTECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL DOMESTIC WORKERS


Ida Le Blanc, General Secretary, National Union of Domestic Employees
The proposed Amendment to the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) in Trinidad and Tobago promises to recognise domestic workers as "Workers" When I heard about it, I said we have something to celebrate, this is after decades of struggle. But when I heard and read for myself that the "Employer" is defined as a person who employs more than three domestic workers I was shocked at that under hand blow.

According to the ILO definition under Convention 189 - The employer of a domestic worker may be a member of the household for which the work is performed, or an agency or enterprise that employs domestic workers and makes them available to households. Therefore the IRA amendment would contravene Convention 189.

Article 3 (2) of The ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work For Domestic Workers states that "Each Member shall, in relation to domestic workers, take the measures set out in this Convention to respect, promote and realize the fundamental principles and rights at work, namely: (a) freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining...".The mischief behind this proposed amendment is to deny most of our domestic workers the right to organise and collective bargaining.

It can also be argued that if you hire one or two domestic workers then how can they seek justice in instances of wrongful dismissals when the person who hired them is not an “employer”? Who is the employer? Or is the legislation saying this is only the case when seeking certification for recognition status?

Is the government responsible or should I say accountable to Domestic Workers to explain the meaning of this proposed amendment? Have they sought an audience with domestic workers because it is these workers who would be affected.

Article 3 of The ILO Convention 189 goes on to state that "Each Member shall take measures to ensure the effective promotion and protection of the Human Rights of all Domestic Workers, as set out in this Convention".

I therefore wish to remind the legislators (and government) or should I say draw to their attention Article 5 of the Convention 189 which states "Each Member shall take measures to ensure that domestic workers enjoy effective protection against all forms of abuse, harassment and violence."

In my respectful view this proposed amendment is a true form of violence against women which must be thrown out completely. The proposed legislation with respect to the domestic workers is abusive and perpetuates a form of harassment of women. It must not even be entertained.

DOMESTIC WORKERS REMEMBER 16TH JUNE IS DOMESTIC WORKERS DAY
WE SHOULD ALL BE HOME RESTING AND COUNTING OUR ACHIEVEMENTS THUS FAR ON BEHALF OF DOMESTIC WORKERS EVERYWHERE
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