World Day for decent work, recognise domestic work as work!

Sunday 12 October 2014

Date: 8 October 2014

Source: Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants

Type: Statement

Keywords: migrant workers

APMM, a regional migrant center and a co-secretariat of the UFDWR (United Foreign Domestic Workers’ Rights) asserts that decent work is enshrined in every human being’s aspiration for equitable working conditions and equal opportunities, freedom, and dignity.

The numbers of foreign domestic helpers, overwhelmingly female, have soared across the Asia-Pacific region. In 1992, Hong Kong had slightly more than 100,000; now there are three times as many. Malaysia has 125,000; in Thailand, 88,000 were registered in 2010. But the true numbers are thought to be far higher for all three. The Filipino and Indonesian diaspora have been joined by Burmese, Nepalese and Cambodian workers. But the flow of migrants, and their growing voice, has far outpaced their progress in winning protections. Reports of exploitation by employers and agencies are rife; rights are limited. While Singapore recently introduced a statutory weekly day off, campaigners say it is not being adequately enforced and employers can legally avoid granting it by increasing pay. Migrants in Taiwan have been fighting for the same right, without success (://

Despite international statutes like the ICESCR definition of decent work(Art.7&8), ILO Decent Work Agenda, only ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189) which recalled all relevant international instruments, gave emphasis on the recognition of domestic work as work. However, despite signifying support from some of the member countries, only Philippines ratified the ILO C189. The formal recognition of domestic work as work by C189 should also be covered by core labour standards in all levels, the stereo typing of women’ job, traditional notion that domestic work is unskilled work and has little value in socio-economic development persist to this day. Such deplorable and discriminatory perceptions influence the way states’ or governments’ policies were legislated on foreign domestic work. Undignified working conditions, stereotyping of women migrant work, labour exploitation, and abuses of human rights are major issues facing foreign domestic workers.

In this “World Day for Decent Work”, APMM, strongly urge decent work for migrant workers, by respect and recognition of migrant workers’ rights and protection in all levels, both the sending and receiving countries. It asserts the adoption of the C189 in all international and national instrumentalities, and in its medium of mechanisms to prevent the sky rise increase of abuses and inhumane treatment of migrant domestic workers by:

1. RATIFICATION OF THE ILO CONVENTION ON DECENT WORK FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS (C189) both from the sending countries and the receiving countries to ensure mutual recognition and implementation of the Convention. National adoption and integration of the Convention Principles into the national labour laws are essential to its enforceability and implementation.

2. RECOGNITION OF THE VULNERABLE SITUATION OF FOREIGN DOMESTICWORKERS AND THEIR NEED FOR LEGAL PROTECTION and ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN A MULTILATERAL FRAMEWORK. The Multilateral Framework is a valuable opportunity for establishing the standards and mechanisms for the protection of migrant workers, realizing the goals aspired to in the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families. It is a common information that while governments denies justice to the plights of many migrant workers; receiving countries to the significant migrant workers contributions, it cannot deny the result in the social and economic contributions to the growth of the every state’s gross national product.

3. ENSURING MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS OF REST DAYS AND DAY OFFS. It is important and necessary that migrant workers’ in all field of endeavors be afforded with proper rest days and day offs to be able to recover fitness from the physical and mental work. Human body needs balance of fitness to perform multiple tasks effectively and productively. Moreover, migrant workers need rest days for their leisure, social and cultural interferences, which form part of their continuing development and empowerment.###

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