Lebanon: Domestic workers create the first union in the Middle East
The National Federation of Labor Unions petitioned the Labor Ministry to form the union uniting domestic workers in Lebanon. The workers primarily come from Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.
The Lebanese labor code forbids domestic workers from forming a union, however the women are able to join a new housekeeper's union, as long as it has some Lebanese members.
Many domestic workers in the middle east blame the kafala, or sponsorship system, for their poor working and living conditions. Kafala requires the workers to have a sponsor, typically their employers, who control their passports and dictate their legal status. Without permission from their employers, women under the kafala system cannot quit their jobs or leave the country.
More from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/01/02/world/middleeast/ap-ml-lebanon-domestic-workers.html?_r=0
Story Type: News