SA must protect domestic workers’ rights, says Cosatu

2011-06-22 12:54

The government should be the first to implement a United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention protecting domestic workers’ rights, Cosatu said today.

The SA Domestic and Services Workers’ Union and other unions would have to work with the government to campaign for its implementation, said Cosatu’s gender co-ordinator, Gertrude Mtsweni.

“Domestic workers have made a significant contribution to the economy globally, but their work is still undervalued and poorly regulated. Now, like any other workers, they should enjoy decent working and living conditions,” she said.

The convention was adopted on June 16 at the 100th International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

It protects domestic workers from being deprived of their rights to education and vocational training, and sets out conditions for the eradication of child and forced labour.

“This is a great victory for domestic workers. It seeks to protect their dignity and human rights, and should mark the end of a modern form of slavery,” said Mtsweni.

“Domestic workers are now going to be recognised and viewed as an integral part of the global workforce,” she said.

The ILO is a specialised UN agency that promotes social justice, and human and labour rights. 

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