Trade union activists, as well as domestic workers, are thrilled to see a breakthrough in the ‘12 by 12’ campaign: Uruguay made history by being the first country to ratify International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 189 (C189).
The International Trade Union Confederation ITUC launched the ‘12 by 12’ campaign in December 2011, following the historical adoption of C189 at the International Labor Conference (ILC) on 16 June 2011. The campaign goal is twelve ratifications of C189 in 2012 and the strengthening of domestic workers’ unions.
Uruguay’s House of Representatives approved on 25 April 2012 the International Labour Convention No. 189 on decent work for domestic workers. The ratification will have a significant impact on domestic workers rights in Uruguay and worldwide: C189 comes into force once two countries have ratified it. In other words, we are getting very close to safeguarding C189 as an international instrument.
Countries that ratify C189 have to adopt laws that recognise the right of domestic workers to collectively defend their interests through trade unions. In addition, Convention C189 protects the right of domestic workers to a minimum wage in countries where such a wage exists; the Convention guarantees them a monthly payment and access to social security including in the case of maternity; and it gives them one day off per week and regulates their working hours and leave days. C189 recognises domestic work as any other work and ensures that domestic workers are treated as any other worker under labour legislation.
The ‘12 by 12’ campaign is now operational in 73 countries around the world. They are undertaking actions to demand the ratification of C189 and changes in national legislation: actions range from marches in the streets or public events, etc., to the inclusion of C189 in tripartite meetings (Nordic countries, Philippines, South Africa, Brazil).