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ISSUE 8 | Nov 2015

Workshop opening remarks by Francesco d’Ovidio, ILO Country Director, Guntur Witjaksono, Indonesian Ministry of Manpower, and Wan Zulkifli bin Wan Setapa, Malaysia Department of Labour.

Workshop on Recruitment and Protection of Migrant Domestic Workers in the Indonesia-Malaysia Corridor

On 3 and 4 November, trade union representatives joined government representatives from Indonesia and Malaysia and migrant rights organizations in Jakarta to discuss recruitment and protection of migrant domestic workers. The Workshop was organized within the framework of the ILO Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and Their Families and Tripartite Action for Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in the ASEAN Regional (ASEAN Triangle) project.

Around the world, millions of women leave their communities to seek financial gain working as domestic workers abroad.  Upon departure, these women are often unaware of the rules and laws of recruitment, how to migrate safely, and what their rights are in countries of destination. As a result, they face a number of risks throughout the recruitment process that expose them to abuse, exploitation, and in the worst cases forced labour and trafficking.

In Indonesia, there are an estimated 500,000 plus migrant workers of which 54% are female. It is understood that the majority of these are domestic workers, many seeking employment in Malaysia. 

The workshop drew on research carried out in the region under the GAP-MDW project including on:
  1. working conditions and protection;
  2. recruitment process and risks;
  3. bilateral agreements;
  4. skills training.

An information "passport" for Indonesian MDWs, developed by trade union KSBSI, was also showcased at the workshop. 

Read more about the binational workshop.
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MDW Employer Consultations in Malaysia and Lebanon

  • In Lebanon ILO is seeking to involve the banking sector as one of the largest employers, to promote awareness and ethical principles on the rights and duties of domestic workers and their employers.
  • The initiative aims to create awareness of the Decent Work for Domestic Workers campaign among bank employees and builds on findings of a forthcoming ILO survey of domestic worker employers in Lebanon.
  • Some 80 participants including from employer organizations, trade unions and the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources met in Kuala Lumpur last month to discuss improving working conditions for and work relationships with Migrant Domestic Workers. The one-day interactive workshop provided a platform for MDW employers to exchange views amongst themselves and with the Ministry of Human Resources, regarding successful working relations as well as challenges.
  • Recommendations from the workshop will be used to produce a draft Code of Conduct for Malaysian employers for improving work conditions for Migrant Domestic Workers and employment relations with MDWs

ILO consultation with Lebanon banks to promote "Decent Work" campaign

Malaysia MDW employer workshop invitation
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South African Domestic Services Allied Workers Union Puts Decent Work on the National Agenda

GAP-MDW Partner South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union is undertaking a month-long mobilization and awareness campaign on the rights of domestic workers including migrants.

During the month of November SADSAWU has been undertaking worker advocacy and training activities including:
  • Providing input to the social dialogue process for establishing a living wage for the Domestic Work sector. Last week the government announced a minimum wage increase as part of annual pay increases, "but we are still not satisfied this represents a living wage", said SADSAWU General Secretary Myrtle Witbooi. "We will keep on campaigning for  a just wage for domestic workers."
  • Outreach to migrant workers including from Lesotho, Malawie and Zimbabwe regarding their labour rights and the role of SADSWU in protecting these rights.
  • Organization of Migrant Domestic Workers Awareness Day (22 Nov.) with participation from the Deptartments of Labour and Home Affairs and migrant rights organization PASSOP.   

Find out more about SADSAWU campaigns.

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GAP-MDW Participates in MercoSur Meeting of Ministries of Women 

The GAP-MDW project joined representatives from the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as from UN Women and civil society organizations on 4 November, for the Working Group on Gender, Work and Economic Integration in Asuncion, Paraguay.

Key recommendations from the meeting included:
  • The call for regional ratification of ILO Convention 189 concerning decent work for domestic workers;
  •  And for pension portability mechanisms for migrant domestic workers.

GAP-MDW Publications

  • Indonesian trade union KSBSI has produced a new Migrant Domestic Worker information passport. The passport, the fourth such guide produced under the GAP-MDW project, provides Indonesian workers headed to Malaysia, with pre-departure information regarding labor rights and employment (click on image to download-Bahasa).
  • GAP-MDW Corridor report on Paraguayan Migrant Domestic Workers in Argentina (click on image to download-Spanish). 
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Photo credit: See-ming Lee via Flickr - Creative Commons


ILO Global Media Competition:
"Reporting Fairly On Labour Migration"

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It's Time to Ratify the ILO's Forced Labour Protocol
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"The ILO Strategy for action"  towards making decent work a reality for domestic workers worldwide supports countries that are committed and ready to take measures aimed at improving the protection and working conditions of domestic workers.

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The Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and their Families seeks to promote the human and labour rights of migrant domestic workers worldwide by addressing the challenges that make migrant domestic workers particularly vulnerable to the risks of exploitation and abuse. 

The programme focuses on eleven countries in five migration corridors: Ukraine-Poland, Zimbabwe/Lesotho-South Africa, Indonesia-Malaysia, Nepal-Lebanon, and Paraguay-Argentina, to undertake policy-oriented research and capacity building in a variety of ways at both regional and global levels. 

The programme seeks to:
  1. Enhance research and practical knowledge on migration and trafficking issues with regards to domestic work across global care chains.
  2. Strengthen the capacities of policy makers, domestic worker and employer organizations, and practitioners to advocate for migrant domestic workers’ access to decent work and respect for their human rights.
  3. Pilot-test national capacity building approaches to promote rights-based policies and regulations and empower migrant domestic workers throughout all stages of the migration cycle.
Migrant Domestic Workers in Focus
Is published by the Labour Migration Branch (MIGRANT), International Labour Organization (ILO)

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