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2012 Domestic workers call to ratify C189 on the May Day

May 1, 2012

On May Day unions, non-governmental organizations and religious groups worldwide called on their governments to ratify the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.


Sri Lanka: Working Women’s Front demanded government to ratify C189 on its First May Day Conference

The Working Women’s Front which registered as a trade union in December 2011, observed its Domestic Workers’ May Day at the auditorium of Newton Gunasinghe Foundation in Paradeka, Sri Lanka.

The May Day was held under its President Ms. G. Aruljothy, a welfare employee of a tea plantation. The members representing the private sector, plantation and the domestic workers participated in the May Day rally. After observing three minutes silence in remembrance of the working class martyrs of the world, the rally commenced.

The President Ms. G. Aruljothy welcomed the participants and explained the history of the May Day, Sri Lanka’s working class struggle and the trade union movement which won a number of rights including right to association. She said that presently, we enjoy the rights which were won by the working men and women of Sri Lanka. Further she reminded that a number of May Day meetings were being held in various cities under the leadership of capitalists. Presently, the Sri Lankan working class was divided and they were running behind the capitalist parties. She named their meeting as a historical event where majority of working women gathered to observe the working class day under women trade union leadership.

Following the welcome speech the General Secretary of Working Women’s Front Ms. K. Yogeshwary addressed the gathering by saying that since the inception of the Sri Lankan working class movement, the women workers joined with the men workers and struggled for the labour rights. Presently, the women workers of Sri Lanka dominate the unorganized and private sector and those unorganized sector women workers were not mobilized by the trade unions. It has led to form a trade union for the women workers. She pointed out it as [image: Text Box: May Day rally]a historical need and they are gathered to fulfill it. Hence she named it as an important day where women workers observed the May Day by themselves. The women were deployed as cheap labour in Sri Lanka by the capitalists. Although Sri Lanka has a number of laws to protect the rights of women workers, they were severely exploited by the capitalist class. Therefore it was highlighted as the high time to mobilize under the women’s trade union. Further she said that forming a separate women trade union would not destroy the class collaboration of men and women employees.

After Ms. Yogeshwary’s speech, a number of women representing plantation sector, migrant workers, shops and domestic workers submitted their testimonies. Women related their hardships and the way they were exploited.

Working Women’s Front which represents the women workers in the private sector and which observed the May Day 2012 on May 01st 2012 unanimously passed – among others – the following resolution: To urge the government to ratify the recently passed ILO Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers, and to introduce legislation to safeguard the rights of the domestic workers.

Hong Kong: May Day Rally

Over 1,500 dometic workers in Hong Kong joined the May Day Rally organized by Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU).

They strongly demand for ratification of C189, Wage increase, No to agency fee, retirement protection, No to social exclusion, protection for occupation illness.

Jharkhand, India: Domestic Workers made their voice heard

On the occasion of Workers Day, the Domestic Workers in Jharkhand took out a mass rally and protest demanding: the constitution of the State Social Security Board, inclusion of all domestic workers’ families under the below poverty line category and housing for domestic workers in the towns. Two major national issues were also highlighted on the occasion, namely, ratification of the ILO Convention on domestic workers and inclusion of domestic workers in the Sexual Harassment Bill.

Ghana: May Day Rally

Philippines: Workers united to “Ensure the immediate ratification of ILO C189”

For the first time in more than 20 years, 40 labor centers, major federations, alliances and labor organizations have decided to work together and collectively respond to what they see as wholesale attacks on workers’ rights. In a letter to President Aquino they state that “workers’ constitutional right to security of tenure is flagrantly ignored as various types of precarious work continue to proliferate; with their inadequate minimum wages, many of our sisters and brothers find it impossible to make ends meet; some of them do not even receive the mandated minimum wage; social services remain inadequate for many of our members while their demands for decent and adequate housing is almost always met with violent demolitions. Meanwhile, our right to self-organization is trashed with impunity at every opportunity.”

They called on him among others to “ensure the immediate ratification of ILO Convention 189 for Domestic Workers before the ILO convenes the 101st session of its International Labor Conference this June 2012 in Geneva”.

Sri Lanka: Domestic Workers Union celebrated May Day

Domestic Workers Union had its first May day very successful. The Domestic worker’s speeches were very powerful.

Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic presidential candidate Dr. Max Puig called on the congressmen to ratisfy the ILO conventions 156, 183 and 189 concerning workers with family responsibilities, maternity protection and decent work for domestic workers. “There must not be different rights for different work categories; I will equate the rights of all workers and very especially I will cause that the domestic workers have the same rights as the other workers”.


In Mexico, on 10 march 2010, legislation had been adapted to domestic workers contributing to social security, however there are no advances in the registration since then. On the national level, only 0.09% of domestic workers have been registered. Deputy Loth Tipa Mota Nataraem pointed out that the domestic workers are those who serve for cleanliness, attendance to the home of a person or family.


In Spain the Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and the General Workers’ Union UGT rallied on May Day for Work, Dignity and Rights, including the domestic workers’ demand for the ratification of Convention 189.

Sources: PrimiciasVanguardia and Redes Cristianas