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Guinea: "We must protect the domestic workers who hold our life and our safety."

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by IDWFED published Apr 20, 2012 12:00 AM
Contributors: Aminata.com
“We must protect the domestic workers who hold our life and our safety” said Asmaou Bah, general secretary of the domestic workers' union SYNTRAD in an interview with Animata.com. In this conversation, she reconsidered the process of Convention 189 ratification by Guinea, the work conditions of domestic workers.

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GUINEA -

“We must protect the domestic workers who hold our life and our safety” said Asmaou Bah, general secretary of the domestic workers' union SYNTRAD in an interview with Animata.com. In this conversation, she reconsidered the process of Convention 189 ratification by Guinea, the work conditions of domestic workers.

Read the entire interview:

You are the general secretary of SYNTRAD, do you present us this trade union?

SYNTRAD is the national union of domestic workers, it is a trade union which is created in May 2011 after the preparatory meeting in Johannesburg for the adoption of the convention in Geneva in June 2011.

Your trade union defends the domestic workers, who are they actually?

A domestic worker is any person who works in a house, such as cooks, cleaning ladies, drivers of families, gardeners, guards,…

Guinea ratified the Convention 189 of Geneva relating to the defense of domestic workers. What do you plan to make the country ratify this convention?

Guinea is a country which always has worked for the welfare of the Guinean workers. Thus the Guinean government adopted Convention 189 concerning the respect for the rights of domestic workers. Now for the ratification of this convention the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) launched the campaign for twelve ratifications in 2012, i.e. twelve countries must ratify this convention on the domestic workers in 2012. After all Guinea voted for the adoption of this convention and the recommendation number 201. We are still convinced that the Guinean government will not spare any effort for the ratification of this convention.

These men and women who you defend are generally victims of ill-treatment on behalf of their employers. What explains this ill-treatment?

Most domestic workers don't know their rights. It is the poverty which causes all that. They aren't defended, it is also a lack of conscience of the employers. A person who deals with your children, the property of your environment, who gives you to eat: You must treat her well.

Which is the layer most exposed to this practice today?

These are the children, the women and migrant workers who are exposed to any kind of ill-treatment. Especially the children who are prevented from making anything else than house work. Sometimes in collusion with the children's parents, who don't even know how much they are paid. However these intelligent people can make anything like going to school. The adult women ignoring their rights sometimes are even abused.

Do you have currently figures available on the number of domestic workers in Guinea?

We don't know the exact number, but the media now are very much interested as we started to speak in our national languages. They currently call us and adhere to the trade union, we have 200 recorded people. But there are plenty of them, each family in Guinea has one domestic worker. But it is especially necessary to draw attention to the domestic workers who are in Lebanon where they even aren't paid per month. They are paid per day, something which they cannot save, I find that inadmissible.

Does the SYNTRAD today possesses the means of achieving their purposes, if yes which? Who are your partners?

You do not evolve sole, the SYNTRAD has 15 members. We work with the National Confederation of Guinean Workers CNTG at the national level. At the international level we work with the International Domestic Workers' Network (IDWN). When it comes to our means, they are limited. But for us the best means is the will to work, that is the best weapon. We receive a symbolic assistance by the IDWN. With that, we manage to contact the domestic workers.

Your closing words?

It is to thank you journalists initially, because it is thanks to you that we are known. It is thanks to you that we pass information. We invite all domestic workers to adhere to the trade union, the employers to treat the domestic workers well who deal with our first three fundamental needs: food, housing and clothing. They deal with our children as much as we deal with our dearest children as much as we must deal with the children of the others.

Give them the chance to deal with other things after the household, like going to school. I invite also the president of the Republic to ratify this convention. We also count on the minister of the civil service and work, on the National Transition Council CNT which currently represents the National Assembly. On all NGOs which deal with the rights of women and children. In short I invite everyone to support the domestic workers who hold our life and our safety.

Read this interview in French.

Source: Aminata.com

Story Type: Story

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