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Jamaica: Domestic workers rally for the Ratification of C189

Jamaica: Domestic workers rally for the Ratification of C189

by IDWFED published Dec 15, 2012 12:00 AM
Contributors: Jamaica Household Workers' Association
On December 15, Jamaica Household Workers' Association with over 200 Domestic Workers and partners from across the island gathered in Kingston pressuring the Government to ratify Convention 189.
Dec 15, 2012 (Universal / UTC0)
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2012.12.15 jamaica rally 1Domestic Workers Rally for the Ratification of Convention189 Decent Work for Domestic Workers
Jamaica Household Workers’ Association observed World Human Rights Day which was December 10.

On December 15 over 200 Domestic Workers and partners from across the island was in a militant mode when they gather in Kingston some in their aprons chanting in song, dances, speeches and poems pressuring the Government to ratify Convention 189. Some of their chants were ratify ILO Convention Now, we want respect, domestic work is work, end modern day slavery and we are the back bone of society.

Two of the powerful songs was we shall overcome some day and we are unionist. Domestic work remains a virtually invisible form of employment in many countries and many domestic workers endure very poor working conditions, including underpayment of wages, long working hours, inadequate privacy and the threat of sexual harassment.

Since June 16, 2012, unions and organisations around the world have scaled up in participating in global calls for action in the on-going campaign for rights and protection for domestic workers. There are 7 countries having ratified C189 -Uruguay, Philippines, Mauritius, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Italy.

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The Jamaica Household Workers’ Association have been arguing for years that Labour Laws are out-dated and need to be amended to address the inequities domestic workers continued to face and to keep abreast with the new developments in the world of work. Ratifying the ILO Convention 189 will bring domestic workers in line with all other categories of workers, giving them the right to exercise and enjoy protection under all existing labour legislation. Access to justice and equality before the law is for allUnder the motto “Respect, Equality, Dignity . . . Every Household Workers’ Right” the Jamaica Household Workers’ Association strives to provide opportunities for the personal and professional development of its members and continues to galvanize support for the protection and rights of domestic workers. Currently the UNWomen is providing support to educate and mobilize domestic workers.

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Jamaica's and other domestic workers leadership at the ILO Conferences in 2010 and 2011, which contributed significantly to the ILO's adoption of C 189 in June 2011. It would be such an achievement of the Government of Jamaica to lead the Caribbean in ratifying C189. My sincere hope is that this can be announced as part of the celebration of International Women's Day on March 8 2013.

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Our Priority requests from the rally are therefore:
Jamaica's ratification of C189 before March 8 2013 and legal reform 2013-2014

We will continue our campaign for domestic workers to be recognized as workers and to be protected by employment legislation AS WE BELIEVE THAT ALL WORKERS MUST BE COUNTED DOMESTIC WORK IS WORK.


Some of the people present were:

Ms. Judith Wedderburn
Director Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
Jamaica and Eastern Caribbean

Leith L. Dunn Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer/ Head
Mona Campus Unit
Institute for Gender Development Studies
University of the West Indies

Mrs. Faith Webster
Executive Director
Bureau of Women’s Affairs

Mrs Phillis Mitchell
Senior Advisor
Minister or Labour

Mrs. Hermione McKenzie
Association of Women organization of Jamaica
4 Ellesmere Road

We also took the opportunity to launch some of ours chapters

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