More than 100 participants and domestic workers from all over Asia called for stronger recognition, rights and decent work for domestic workers in the recently held three-day regional conference towards the Adoption of an ILO Convention on Domestic Workers on October 7-9 2010 at the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.
With a theme “Recognition, Rights and Decent Work for Domestic Workers,” the international event gathered participants from twelve countries in Asia, Europe and Africa consisting of the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, China, (Hong Kong), Australia, Belgium, Finland, South Africa and Taiwan. The conference was organized forty-two days before the submission of final government responses to the draft ILO Convention on Domestic Workers and the so-called “Brown Report” on November 18 this year. Aside from discussing the major articles of and recommendations for the ILO convention, the participants convened and came up with a strategic advocacy plan for the 2011 ILC and specific schedules on joint actions in the advocacy for the ILO Convention for Domestic Workers. The Convention is expected to recognize domestic work as decent work.
An exhibit was also conducted simultaneously with the conference and the installation of exhibit materials was presented to the participants on the morning of the 7th of October. The exhibit showed the adverse effects on domestic workers, be they home-based, undocumented, elder-care providers, full-time domestic helpers and so on, of not having a clear set of policies and laws that should protect them form exploitation and abuse of their employers. Many photographs, brochures and other reading materials produced by the participating organizations were also in place to show how far they have worked in order to defend the rights of domestic workers worldwide.
Last year, the Global Network-Asia organized a regional conference to discuss the significance and possibilities of the ILO Convention for Domestic Workers, which is expected to be calendared in the formal discussion of the ILO Governing Body by 2011. In June 2010, the regional organization’s efforts bore fruit when the ILO agreed to put in the agenda for the next International Labour Conference (ILC) on 2011 the discussion on the Convention on Domestic Workers. The 2010 ILC, held in Geneva last June, decided that “an item entitled ‘Decent work for domestic workers’ shall be included in the agenda of its next ordinary session for second discussion with a view to the adoption of a comprehensive standard (a Convention supplemented by a Recommendation).”
The regional conference was jointly organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Global Network-Asia (GN), International Domestic Workers’ Network (IDWN), in cooperation with the Local Coordinating Committee (LCC) in Indonesia consisting of three (3) trade union national centers (KSPSI, KSBSI and KSPI) and two (2) domestic workers’ networks (Jala PRT and Jakerla PRT) and the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA).