Espousing the cause of domestic workers, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has embarked on a campaign to protect their rights in the absence of substantial social security or legal benefits to them.

“One of the key objective of the mission would be recognition of domestic work as ‘real work’ and build a movement for a ‘convention’ that recognises domestic work as an employment worthy of regulation and labour law protection,” said an ILO official.

“We would further aim to bring together actors working on domestic workers to agree on a common minimum floor for the benefit of the domestic workers,” the official said.

The campaign comes in the wake of the ILO governing body firming up plans to discuss the need for an “international legal instrument” for protecting rights of domestic workers at the next ILO conference scheduled for June 2010.

The campaign is also likely to give a fresh impetus to the initiative of the National Commission for Women, who along with a sub-committee of trade unions and NGOs, is working to formulate legislation for domestic workers.

According to official figures, the section has grown at a rapid rate of 222 per cent since 1999 - 2000.

The official said the campaign, involving all stakeholders, would raise awareness among domestic workers about the nature of their working conditions.

It would also try to enhance various skills of domestic workers by providing definite career plans to them.

“The public perception of domestic work is often that of undignified work. We want to bring a change to that perception through the campaign and ensure their rights,” the official said.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit had recently favoured fixing of minimum wages for them.

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