Campaign to urge Centre to ratify ILO convention on ‘decent work’

June 16 marks the third anniversary of the convention being adopted

Published - June 08, 2014 01:54 pm IST - Bangalore:

Bangalore-based Domestic Workers’ Rights Union has launched a campaign to urge the Union government to ratify the International Labour Organization’s ‘Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers’ and to demand a review of national laws in accordance with the convention.

June 16 marks the third anniversary of this convention being adopted and the union is galvanising support to reach the petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this day.

The convention was adopted in 2011 by the ILO to establish the first global standards for the estimated 50 to 100 million domestic workers the world over. While 13 countries are signatories to this convention, India is among the countries that have not yet signed it.


Geetha Menon, joint secretary of the union, said that though domestic workers were indispensable to most middle- and high-income households nationwide, there was very little value given to the work they do. “The union is reaching out through online petition, besides by networking with domestic workers’ unions in other cities of the country,” she said.

The petition says that there are over 3 million domestic workers in India according to a conservative estimate and the numbers are growing. “Considering the nature of the work which is carried out behind the closed doors of an employer’s home and being unrecognised as labour under the legal framework, the workers are under no legal protection,” the petition says.

It adds that most often, domestic workers are not registered by the placement agencies either in their own home towns or in the place where they work, making it difficult to offer them protection or for the women to assert their rights.

The ILO convention promises “decent work” in terms of minimum wage, rest hours, working conditions and social security. The ILO says in its preface to the convention that this instrument provides “the basis for ensuring that under the law, domestic workers have the respect and rights that workers in the formal economy have long fought for and acquired. Yet, as always, the adoption of these standards is a beginning – they need to be ratified and implemented.”

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