Domestic workers high risk of being abused with those living at employers - ILO
2012 July 08 07:19:27 | 1714 Views
Governments have been urged to craft policies that protect domestic workers who are usually looked down upon, yet are the pillars of families and the economy at large, the Sunday Mail reported.
Addressing 50 international participants to the Labour Migration Academy that got under way in Italy on Friday and runs until July 13, International Labour Organisation (ILO) labour specialist Mr George Politikas disclosed that more than 50 million domestic workers in the world find themselves at the "mercy of employers".
"Domestic work is generally undervalued, poorly regulated. Many workers in this field are at high risk of being abused with those living at employersâ€™ homes in most danger," he said.
"Domestic workers always wake up first and are the last to sleep again. Families and governments the world over do not realise, let alone appreciate, domestic workers' efforts. Imagine, they wake up in the early hours of the day when everyone is asleep to prepare bathing water, food, tidy the house and bathe children and clothe them.
"While at work, some employers continue to bark instructions through the phone and when they get home, they expect to find food and everything ready. As they relax watching television, the maids would be cleaning plates and tiding the house.
"Employers retire again to bed while maids are still awake, and the trend just goes on and on. There is greater need for serious legislation among governments to ensure that domestic workersâ€™ rights are upheld."
Mr Politikas noted that domestic workers who live at employers' homes do not have fixed working hours.
â€œDomestic workers are restricted and are literally under house arrest as, upon arrival, some employers confiscate their identity documents or passports in respect to migrant workers.
"They are not allowed to have visitors; sometimes they have to go without pay for months as employers would just tell them that they are facing such and such problems.
"So, since they are eating at home, bathing with employersâ€™ resources, they can bear with them for some time and mostly this causes problems in future."
He said the adoption of Convention 189 last year brought great joy to this bracket of workers who play a critical role in society.
The course runs from July 2 to 13 and is covering aspects such as extending social protection to migrant workers, migration and domestic workers, migration and trade and co-ordination and coherence among governments.
Source: Sunday Mail
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