We demand decent work for domestic workers and urge governments to ratify and implement ILO Domestic Workers Convention 189 and Violence and Harassment Convention 190 to ensure that no domestic worker is left behind. We need decent work for a decent life for all.
This year marks the 12th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work, launched by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on October 7th, 2008, to celebrate those who have fought at the frontlines of the labor movement and gave workers the benefits and standards that we enjoy, whether an 8 hour working day, a day off per week, better protections, health and safety considerations, etc. Any aspect of a secure employment within labor protections that we might take for granted is the product of the tireless efforts of workers and unionists who have asked and continue to ask for decent work. However, those very provisions and historical victories are not applied horizontally across sectors. We continue to fight for justice at work, and in turn, economic justice, so they are achieved for those who are pulling the weight of systematically invisibilized labor, such as domestic work, on their backs.
On the World Day for Decent Work, we honor the sacrifices of the domestic workers’ movement and their struggles for equality and fair treatment for all women and men. The injustice within the domestic sector is a tale as old as time, emerging from feminized under-valued labor of women often expected to perform it free of charge in familial relationships, leading to the low-compensation within employment relationships, lack of recognition of its significance within gross domestic products and their value for not only the wellbeing of those who engage in it, but the care work upon which the economy stands and through which profit is created. It is imperative to provide job security and protections for workers pulling the weight of domestic labor on their backs, at costly prices for their well-being, safety, and security in the future. It is not only a labor fight, but one that is inevitably linked to the liberation of women, people of color, migrants, and workers from the Global South from structural discrimination.
This year, 2020, has been extremely challenging with a global pandemic further destabilizing domestic workers, increasing both the workload and the vulnerability to lay-offs and unfair dismissals. Times of crisis prove that our demands for decent work are not far-fetched idealistic plights, but an urgency and a priority without which we cannot achieve sustainable, inclusive economic growth, and eliminate poverty. The International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) renews its commitment to help build strong, democratic and accountable domestic workers’ organizations to protect their rights everywhere, and to promote gender equality, human and trade union rights in every country, making governments accountable to their people. We demand decent work for domestic workers and urge governments to ratify and implement ILO Domestic Workers Convention 189 and Violence and Harassment Convention 190 to ensure that no domestic worker is left behind. We need decent work for a decent life for all.