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posted 2 May 2014, 06:22 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 2 May 2014, 06:23 ]

Ida Le Blanc, General Secretary,
National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE)
The following letter was delivered to the Minister of Labour, Errol McLeod, by Ida Le Blanc, General Secretary of the National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE) on May Day 2014, during the picket of the office of the Minister Of Labour organized by the National Workers Union.

We the members of the National Union of Domestic Employees take this opportunity to wish you a Happy May Day and to gently remind you of the Government`s promise to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. 

As you may be aware, Argentina has recently ratified the convention making it the 13th country to ratify the Convention and Guyana is the only country in the Caribbean to ratify the convention. According to the latest news from ILO Caribbean Newsletter, “Jamaica and Barbados has signaled their intention to ratify. 
It also stated, ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention signals governments’ commitment to revise the relevant laws in their country which govern the welfare of domestic workers, both women and men, and to undertake other supporting interventions which are consistent with the provisions of the Convention”. To date Trinidad and Tobago has not signaled to the ILO their intention to ratify the Convention for Domestic Workers. 

However, our concern is that we are not being informed as to what steps government has taken or is taking to
ensure Decent Work for Domestic Workers. I therefore, wish to draw your attention to the provisions of the Convention which states the Convention should be implemented in consultation with the most representative organizations of employers and workers or with organizations representative of domestic workers and organizations representative of employers of domestic workers where they exist. 
Article 16 of the Convention states that each member shall take measures to ensure, in accordance with national laws, regulations and practice, that all domestic workers, either by themselves or through a representative, have effective access to courts, tribunals or other dispute resolution mechanisms under conditions that are not less favourable than those available to workers generally. Yet to date Domestic workers are denied the right to seek redress in cases of wrongful dismissal which works contrary to our Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago which states in Art. 4 b of the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law; 

Four articles of the Convention specifically require consultations with the most representative of employers and workers and where they exist, with organizations representative of domestic workers and organizations representative of employers of domestic workers with regards to awareness raising, strengthening the capacity of workers` and employers` organizations, public outreach, hotlines, and model contracts. 
We therefore take this opportunity to request a meeting with you to discuss all our concerns including those that we have mentioned above.