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International Domestic Workers’ Day: Democracy And Decent Work For All Domestic Workers

16 June 2024

ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “The rights and working conditions of the millions of domestic workers around the world are key issues for the ITUC because they concern core trade union values: gender equality, decent work and democracy.

“Democracy and trade union rights in the workplace are a central part of our For Democracy campaign. Through these rights, domestic workers, the majority of whom are women, can organise and win the decent working conditions they deserve for the critical role they play.

“They provide indispensable care and support in millions of households globally. Their work deserves to be valued and protected by decent work standards, and trade unions must be the natural home for domestic workers to achieve this.”

As part of the For Democracy campaign, union representatives and activists who are organising informal workers, including migrant domestic workers, will speak at an ITUC global webinar on 17 June and share how they challenge informality in growing sectors like care and platform work. Click here to sign up.

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The ILO estimates that around 81 per cent of domestic workers worldwide are in the informal economy, where they face dire working conditions and limitations on their rights, such as freedom of association and collective bargaining. This is often due to domestic work not being recognised as work or the precarious migration status of many domestic workers. For example, labour migration schemes that tie domestic workers’ migration status to their employer trap them in situations of exploitation and abuse. This ITUC policy brief explains how this can be changed by ensuring a New Social Contract for migrant workers.

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Domestic workers have been increasingly to negotiate better working conditions. Along with democratic trade union rights for all domestic workers, secure minimum living wages, limitations on maximum working hours and access to social protection, we demand:

Stronger legal protections for domestic workers backed up by the ratification and implementation of ILO Conventions 189 on Domestic Workers and 190 on Violence and Harassment.

Adequate public investment in the care economy, guaranteeing decent work for all care workers, including domestic workers, and actively working towards the formalisation of informal care work.

At this year’s International Labour Conference, governments, employers and trade unions must agree and implement concrete measures to make decent work a reality for all care workers, including domestic workers.

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