The meeting was opened by showing the trailer of the IDWN film - C189, Conventional Wisdom - which brought back memories of the victorious moment of domestic workers in June, 2011 at the 100th session of the International Labour Conference when the ILO Convention concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers, the C189 was adopted. Elizabeth Tang, the International Coordinator welcomed the over 80 participants at the meeting and said: “The June 16 is now the International Domestic Workers Day and will be celebrated in every and each year globally.”
Ms. Stella Banawis, Director of Employment in the Philippines delivered the message from the Secretary of Labor, Madam Rosalinda Baldoz to the meeting. It expressed strong commitment of the government to the ratification of C189 as the President of the country signed the approval on May 30th. It is now pending upon the concurrence of the Senate.
All members of the IDWN delegation gave their testimonies on the strong participation of domestic workers in the ratification processes. Grace Estrada, a Filipino migrant domestic worker in Hong Kong said that she felt very proud of her country which would ratify the Convention soon in July. Together with the first ratification by Uruguay, it is helping to bring the Convention into force soon.
Hester Stephens of South Africa, Carmen Cruz of Costa Rica and Shirley Pryce of Jamaica spoke on how domestic workers have been engaging actively in the ratification process in their countries in the past one year. In Jamaica, according to Shirley Pryce, “one of our best practices in pushing the ratification forward is working tripartite with employers, government and trade union.” In these countries, governments have expressed strong political commitment to the ratification and have included representatives of domestic workers organizations in the process.
Rebeca Pabon of the FNV Bondgenoten, urged the government of the Netherlands and all other governments in Europe to ratify the Convention as soon as possible. “Domestic workers in Europe, who are mostly migrants are very vulnerable and they need rights and protections as much as their counterparts elsewhere in the world do.”
Eveline Mullo of the union KUDHEIHA told the participants that the adoption of the Convention 189 has helped her to recruit more members – as domestic workers now have rights. The union has formed five chapters of domestic workers in some of the major cities in Kenya.
ITUC was represented at the meeting by Ruth Wedrano, President of FENAMUTRA from the Dominican Republic and Fatou B.Y. Mangara, President of the Trade Union Confederation from Senegal. They spoke on the ITUC “12 by 12” campaign and how they have been actively campaigning in their respective countries. They were both optimistic with the ratification process and hence achievement of the goal of the “12 by 12” in the year 2012.
Towards the end of the meeting, members of the IDWN presented the IDWN Domestic Workers Awards to representatives of the governments from Uruguay and the Philippines and the ILO, in appreciation of their concrete support to the ratification of C189. Mr. Loustaunar, representative of the Uruguyan government, on receiving the award said “as government, we are just doing what we should be doing!”
The one-hour meeting was finished off by showing the second IDWN trailer featuring activities and actions of domestic workers in the countries to educate domestic workers on the content of the C189 and campaign for its ratification.