“Domestic workers spent 3 years at the ILO to fight for the Domestic Workers’ Convention, and now we are proud to celebrate it, 11 years after its adoption. It is our convention; we must know it, own it, and use it.”
“Domestic workers spent 3 years at the ILO to fight for the Domestic Workers’ Convention, and now we are proud to celebrate it, 11 years after its adoption. It is our convention; we must know it, own it, and use it.” – Myrtle Witbooi
This year marks the 11th anniversary of the domestic workers’ convention C189, the fruit of the struggle of many unions around the world, that continue to push through structural, socio-economic, and political boundaries to ensure the rights of those who carry invisible, undercompensated, yet essential labor on their backs.
Domestic workers are the backbone of the global economy and domestic work contributes anywhere from 20 to 60 percent of any country’s GDP, and is yet, omitted from its calculation. It is a massive labor, and domestic workers’ struggle around its recognition is that pebble creating an ever widening circle of impact and leaving no one behind, as it defies the devaluing of feminized and racialized labor. Domestic workers’ organizing moves the sector away from the legacy of enslavement and towards a recognition long overdue. Today, we celebrate this recognition, the international standard, and first and foremost, the resilience and ingenuity of our movements.
So much has changed for domestic workers over the past few years. COVID-19 dispossessed many workers, decreasing their income, the civic space has shrunk limiting access to social dialogue and the global economic landscape overall has dramatically changed signaling the failure of the existing economic systems that values profit over people. Against this backdrop, domestic worker organizing survived time and time again, through focusing on what’s most important, leveraging the power in the hands of its members, working on union identity construction, mobilizing resourcing, and improving governance systems against the traditional and new challenges we experience. Domestic workers explored new sustainability models, income generating activities, economic security for their unions, never losing sight of the bread and butter of their organizing; achieving social protection based on decent work principles outlined in Convention 189 and its Recommendation 204.
Domestic workers are doing their part, today and everyday. We honor your work and resilience – they move mountains.