Migrant Forum in Asia
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Paper 7 – ILO Convention 189: Decent Work for Domestic Workers

On June 16th at 11:43am Geneva time, history was made at the 100th International Labour Conference, as the
International Labour Organization adopted Convention 189: Decent Work for Domestic Workers, with 396 voting in
favour, 16 against, and 63 abstentions. This is a turning point in the history of the world of work, and will change the lives of at least 100 million workers globally.

An historic moment for domestic workers —This long overdue recognition of domestic work as work legitimizes the claims of domestic workers to dignity in the workplace, respects their labour rights, and renders them visible to authorities tasked with ensuring that labour standards are enforced. This Convention recognizes the need for a reinvention of the way our societies view domestic work. Employers have a range of ideas about who domestic workers are – they are variously seen as ‘servants,’ ‘helpers,’ ‘caregivers,’ ‘maids,’ and even ‘members of the family.’ Few recognize the inherent problems with these labels. Casting domestic workers as anything other than workers invites employers and states to justify all manner of unjust, disrespectful, undignified, inhuman, violent, and now illegal treatment to which workers in other sectors are not subjected.

Download the full report below.

Paper 7: ILO Convention 189: A New Era for Domestic Workers

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MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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