Global: Introducing Final 2015 Fairness Award Honoree - Myrtle Witbooi
2015 Grassroots Honoree
Ms. Myrtle Witbooi
Myrtle Witbooi is a South African labour activist. She currently serves as the General secretary of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU). She also serves the first president of the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), a global organization of household and domestic workers. Labor scholars have noted IDWF is the "first international labor federation run by women for work dominated by women."
Myrtle began her career as a young domestic worker in apartheid South Africa in the early 1960s and in 1965 she helped convene the first ever organizational meeting of domestic workers in Cape Town. As General Secterary of SADSAWU, she has fought for a national minimum wage increase and compensation for on-the-job injuries for domestic workers. In 2011, Myrtle helped lead the international coalition of domestic workers that secured passage of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C. 189). The Convention (No. 189) on domestic workers has become the first international labor standard to ensure domestic workers the same basic rights as other workers. As part of SADSAWU, Myrtle played a central role in influencing the ILO Domestic Workers Convention C.189. The convention marked unprecedented involvement of informal women workers in the ILO standard-setting process.
In 2013, Myrtle accepted the George Meany–Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award, which recognizes international leaders and organizations who have overcome significant hurdles to fight for human rights.
6th Annual Fairness Award
November 2, 2015
6:30p to 9:00p
The Howard Theatre
Story Type: News