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New international convention agreed to protect domestic workers

June 2011

Domestic worker in the Middle EastOn 16 June 2011, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a new Convention for domestic workers, fulfilling a goal that Christian Aid and our partners have been pressing for.

The new convention enshrines rights and protections for the approximately 100 million domestic workers around the world with provisions on:

  • working hours,

  • minimum age,

  • health and safety,

  •  terms and conditions of employment,

  • recruitment, payment,

  • social security,

  • and key labour rights in common with other workers.


Our colleague William Gois from partner Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) hailed the 'historic moment' for domestic workers:

'This long overdue recognition of domestic work as work legitimises 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.'

Voting

The convention was agreed following constructive negotiations between government, employer and worker representatives from around the world. 83% of the ILO members voted for the convention, with only 3% voting against it.

UK government's position

The UK government, however, was one of only eight governments to abstain in the vote. Christian Aid is extremely disappointed that the UK government did not fully support the agreed convention.

This is despite the UK government recognising the importance that the convention could have, particularly in countries where rights and protections for domestic workers can be much worse than in the UK.

Christian Aid supporters joined those from Anti-Slavery International and other UK agencies to call on the UK government to support this vital convention. We continue to press the government to fully support the Convention and work within the ILO to promote its ratification and implementation around the world.

Find out more

We will continue to build on the achievement of this new international convention for domestic workers, by working with our partners in Asia and the Middle East, and also in the UK.

Look out for further updates on this work. In the meantime, follow the latest news on the Home Alone campaign .

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