Monthly Archives: October 2010

Global Network-Asia, ILO and IDWN Hold 2010 Regional Conference towards the Adoption of an ILO Convention on Domestic Workers

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).

DECENT WORK AND THE MDGS: KEEPING THE PROMISE

International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations

IFWEA Member and Global Network Arab Region Coordinator, Mira Said, of the Democracy and Workers Rights Centre (DWRC), was one of the speakers at the event. Conny Reuter of Solidar was the moderator. Other speakers were Yonnec Polet, Global Progressive Forum; Jane Stewart, Director, International Labour Organization; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, ITUC – Africa Women’s Committee.

Conny Reuter emphasised the need for Decent Jobs as an important means to get people out of poverty and to achieve the MDGs. Although we are still a long way from achieving full and productive employment for all, the campaign for Decent Work has been successful in making it part of the global agenda. The issue of Social Protection was also highlighted.

Sharan Burrow emphasised ITUC’s commitment to civil society and will be appointing a person to liaise with civil society. Mira Said spoke about the Decent Work agenda in Palestine and Jordon, what have been achieved so far and what still has to be done. In Jordan, Morrocan migrant workers earned high wages, but faced many other problems. In Palestine, there were many programmes for social security, but these were not sustainable. Georgina Opoku Amankwah spoke about the situation in Ghana where the absence of social protection schemes, were particularly hard for the unemployed or those employed in the informal economy. Trade unions in Ghana amended their constitutions to allow people in the informal economy to affiliate. Yonnec Polet said that Decent Work promotion in the European Parliament was well accepted and recognised, but not implemented. Social protection and labour rights were increasingly under attack by conservative governments in Europe.

Pakistan is currently in the grips of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. According to Khalid Mahmood, Director of IFWEA affiliate, Labour Education Foundation (LEF), the floods destroyed large parts of rural Pakistan, displacing more that 20 million people. These people, of whom 40% lived below the poverty line of $2 per day even before the floods, lost everything: their homes, crops and livestock. Children and women were especially badly affected due to lack of drinking water, food, sanitation and health care. With winter approaching, people are facing a slow death, unless action is taken to alleviate their plight.

UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, urged the world to speed up aid efforts to Pakistan. “This has been a heart-wrenching day for me,” Ban said after flying over some of the worst-hit areas. “I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today. In the past I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.” Click here to read press report.

LEF launched a Relief Campaign to assist flood. So far they have raised 2 million rupees which are used to support communities with food, medicine, the construction of homes and to rebuild livelihoods. They appeal to all trade unions to assist them in their campaign.

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT

According to the ILO, the world economic crisis has spurred a record increase in youth unemployment. Global youth unemployment has reached its highest level on record, and is expected to increase through 2010, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in a new report issued to coincide with the launch of the UN International Youth Year on 12 August.

The report ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2010 – [pdf 3310 KB] says that of some 620 million economically active youth aged 15 to 24 years, 81 million were unemployed at the end of 2009 — the highest number ever. The youth unemployment rate increased from 11.9 percent in 2007 to 13.0 percent in 2009.
It adds that these trends will have “significant consequences for young people as upcoming cohorts of new entrants join the ranks of the already unemployed” and warns of the “risk of a crisis legacy of a ‘lost generation’ comprised of young people who have dropped out of the labour market, having lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living”.
Click here to read the full press release.

WORLD DAY FOR DECENT WORK – 7 OCTOBER 2010

Following a decision of the 2nd ITUC World Congress in Vancouver, Canada, the ITUC is to convene the 3rd World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), 7 October 2010. In previous years, the WDDW has involved millions of trade unionists in action for Decent Work, and in today’s conditions of crisis it is more important than ever for trade unionists across the globe stand up for their rights to decent work and a decent life.

Three core messages for the WDDW this year are:
– Growth and decent jobs, not austerity, are essential to beating the crisis and ending poverty;
– Quality public services are essential for a decent life and must not be slashed in the name of fiscal consolidation; and,
– The financial sector must pay for the damage it has caused and be made to serve the real economy and real human needs.

DECENT WORK AND THE MDGS: KEEPING THE PROMISE

International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations

IFWEA Member and Global Network Arab Region Coordinator, Mira Said, of the Democracy and Workers Rights Centre (DWRC), was one of the speakers at the event. Conny Reuter of Solidar was the moderator. Other speakers were Yonnec Polet, Global Progressive Forum; Jane Stewart, Director, International Labour Organization; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, ITUC – Africa Women’s Committee.

Conny Reuter emphasised the need for Decent Jobs as an important means to get people out of poverty and to achieve the MDGs. Although we are still a long way from achieving full and productive employment for all, the campaign for Decent Work has been successful in making it part of the global agenda. The issue of Social Protection was also highlighted.

Sharan Burrow emphasised ITUC’s commitment to civil society and will be appointing a person to liaise with civil society. Mira Said spoke about the Decent Work agenda in Palestine and Jordon, what have been achieved so far and what still has to be done. In Jordan, Morrocan migrant workers earned high wages, but faced many other problems. In Palestine, there were many programmes for social security, but these were not sustainable. Georgina Opoku Amankwah spoke about the situation in Ghana where the absence of social protection schemes, were particularly hard for the unemployed or those employed in the informal economy. Trade unions in Ghana amended their constitutions to allow people in the informal economy to affiliate. Yonnec Polet said that Decent Work promotion in the European Parliament was well accepted and recognised, but not implemented. Social protection and labour rights were increasingly under attack by conservative governments in Europe.

Pakistan is currently in the grips of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. According to Khalid Mahmood, Director of IFWEA affiliate, Labour Education Foundation (LEF), the floods destroyed large parts of rural Pakistan, displacing more that 20 million people. These people, of whom 40% lived below the poverty line of $2 per day even before the floods, lost everything: their homes, crops and livestock. Children and women were especially badly affected due to lack of drinking water, food, sanitation and health care. With winter approaching, people are facing a slow death, unless action is taken to alleviate their plight.

UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, urged the world to speed up aid efforts to Pakistan. \\\”This has been a heart-wrenching day for me,\\\” Ban said after flying over some of the worst-hit areas. \\\”I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today. In the past I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.\\\” Click here to read press report.

LEF launched a Relief Campaign to assist flood. So far they have raised 2 million rupees which are used to support communities with food, medicine, the construction of homes and to rebuild livelihoods. They appeal to all trade unions to assist them in their campaign.

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
According to the ILO, the world economic crisis has spurred a record increase in youth unemployment. Global youth unemployment has reached its highest level on record, and is expected to increase through 2010, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in a new report issued to coincide with the launch of the UN International Youth Year on 12 August.
The report ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2010 – [pdf 3310 KB] says that of some 620 million economically active youth aged 15 to 24 years, 81 million were unemployed at the end of 2009 — the highest number ever. The youth unemployment rate increased from 11.9 percent in 2007 to 13.0 percent in 2009.
It adds that these trends will have “significant consequences for young people as upcoming cohorts of new entrants join the ranks of the already unemployed\\\” and warns of the \\\”risk of a crisis legacy of a ‘lost generation’ comprised of young people who have dropped out of the labour market, having lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living\\\”.
Click here to read the full press release.

WORLD DAY FOR DECENT WORK – 7 OCTOBER 2010
Following a decision of the 2nd ITUC World Congress in Vancouver, Canada, the ITUC is to convene the 3rd World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), 7 October 2010. In previous years, the WDDW has involved millions of trade unionists in action for Decent Work, and in today’s conditions of crisis it is more important than ever for trade unionists across the globe stand up for their rights to decent work and a decent life.

Three core messages for the WDDW this year are:
– Growth and decent jobs, not austerity, are essential to beating the crisis and ending poverty;
– Quality public services are essential for a decent life and must not be slashed in the name of fiscal consolidation; and,
– The financial sector must pay for the damage it has caused and be made to serve the real economy and real human needs.

SOLIDAR and Global Progressive Forum Event: ‘Decent Work for All: Making Migration Work for Development’

On 15 September 2010, an event took place in the European Parliament hosted by Juan Fernando López Aguilar MEP (S&D Spain & Chair LIBE Committee) with keynote address by Anna Terrón I Cusí (Secretary of State for Immigration, Spain).

It launched a three-year SOLIDAR project which aims to mobilise support from European citizens and politicians for a rights-based approach to labour migration and decent work and for policy coherence for development.

Khadija Najlaoui, a migrant domestic worker in the UK and a member of Kalayaan and Justice 4 Domestic Workers shared her experiences with the people present: “We may be from different countries before coming to the UK but our sufferings back home are the same. The poverty was so bad that we were forced to leave our families in search of decent jobs. Many of us were forced to flee an abusive or violent employer, or were thrown out onto the street, often with nothing – no passport, no shelter, no food, nowhere to turn to.”

SOLIDAR is a European network of 52 NGOs active in over 90 countries working to advance social justice in Europe and worldwide. SOLIDAR voices the concerns of its member organisations to the EU and international institutions across the policy sectors social affairs, international cooperation and lifelong learning. For more information, visit SOLIDAR at http://www.solidar.org (see also the links bar).