Dear Global March members and partners,
As the International Labour Conference prepares for its official opening on 1st June in Geneva, Switzerland, and as various pre-conference meetings get under way on 30 and 31 May 2011, Global March Against Child Labour has issued a formal statement in support of the adoption of the proposed Convention and Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, with particular emphasis on the vital contribution that these new instruments could make in global efforts to eliminate child domestic labour. As those organisations which work on this issue, such as the International Domestic Workers’ Network, Global Unions, Anti-Slavery International and Global March are well aware, putting in place a coherent legislative framework backed by political commitment are crucial steps in launching an effective and sustainable campaign to eliminate this form of child labour. While Global March appreciates the challenges that still lie ahead in the ratification and implementation of a new Convention and Recommendation, it remains optimistic based on the willingness of the ILO’s tripartite partners to adopt these instruments and to have finally reached a point where texts may be agreed.
International a and national trade union and civil society movements have been calling for these instruments to be established for many, many years due to the high level of violations of core labour standards and fundamental human rights of this particularly vulnerable group of workers. This vulnerability is multiplied as most domestic workers are women and when migrant workers and children are involved as is so often the case. Global March congratulates its members, partners and other organisations for their advocacy and campaigning activities on domestic work and child domestic labour as these efforts have contributed significantly to the process of building consensus on the need for a new and specific convention targeting this sector.
Global March welcomes the texts as they stand in the ILO’s Blue Report published prior to the ILC, particularly in the context of child labour and the application of minimum age of employment and occupational health safety to ensure that hazardous work is targeted for adolescent workers below the age of 18. In addition, it is vital that working conditions in domestic work are improved to a level where workers can earn a decent living, in decent conditions and benefit from their fundamental trade union rights. This will provide significant opportunities for decent youth employment in the future which will further sustain efforts to eliminate child labour. The references to education and training are also welcome as they target those rights which are denied to millions of domestic workers today.
It is the sincere hope of Global March that the discussions in the ILC Committee will be successful in achieving consensus between the tripartite partners, ensuring that the proposed texts of the Convention and Recommendation will not be undermined or weakened in any way. Global March is aware of the challenges ahead over the coming weeks of the conference and, through its statement, is expressing its solidarity with the Workers’ Group representatives in the ILC Committee, wishing them every success in their important and vital endeavours. The lives of millions of vulnerable domestic workers and child domestic labourers stand to benefit from change that could emerge over time if strong texts are agreed.Nevertheless, adoption of these new instruments will only be the start of new challenges facing the trade union movement and civil society, but it is the catalyst that will help launch a global campaign for ratification and implementation. Global March is committed to this international effort and looks forward to working with all trade union and civil society partners in following up what it hopes will be a successful outcome to the 100th Session of the ILC.
Please find attached a copy of the Global March statement in English and Spanish – a French version will be published shortly. Global March calls on all members and partners to assist in the dissemination of the statement among various national, regional and international stakeholders and to reference the statement in their own communications, including putting links on their web sites to the Global March web campaign on the new Convention:http://www.globalmarch.org/events/DomesticWorkSector/index.php. The campaign web pages assists members and partners in downloading and accessing a wide range of useful knowledge resources on the new Convention and Recommendation (including the proposed texts in the ILO’s Blue Report), on the challenges facing domestic workers and on child domestic labour. In particular, Global March would draw the attention of members and partners to the section of the campaign web pages on “Action”. This section offers a list of possible ideas to mobilise stakeholders in each country and to lobby governments and other stakeholders to support the new Convention and Recommendation, to encourage governments to agree to its adoption in Geneva in June 2011 and then to begin the task of ratification and implementation at national level.
We look forward to your continued support in this important campaign and we look forward to future collaboration with all of you on this and related child labour issues.
With kind regards,
Kailash Satyarthi Chairperson Nick Grisewood Executive Director