Solidarity Stroll - Fighting for Domestic Workers' Rights

Date:

On Saturday, the 6th of October, the Solidarity Stroll took place, organised by the Dosmetic Workers Action Group and the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland. They were calling for the Irish Government to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Decent Work for Dosmetic Workers (C189). This convention would give dosmestic workers the same rights as other workers.

Between fifty to sixty people gathered near the Dáil, demographically the crowd consisted mostly of migrant women, many of whom had brought their children with them. At the start of the stroll, people involved with DWAG and MRCI gave speeches. Their speeches highlighted how the majority of dosmetic worker are women and adolescents (82%). A member of SIPTU also spoke, explaining that SIPTU's cleaning sector was working with MRCI on this issue.

At the end there was an open mic for those who wanted to show their solidarity. Several women who are dosmetic workers also spoke, many of whom had lived in Ireland for over ten years and spoke about how badly they needed these rights, some of whom hardly ever got a break and were not being paid properly. After the open mic, four women who were dosmetic workers also did a traditional dance before everyone walked together to Stephen's Green.

Dosmetic workers are employed in private homes. Cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and providing care to children and the elderly are among many of their tasks. In most countries their work is not recognised by labour legislation or social protection. Many are denied the right either in the law or in practice to form or join a trade union. This means many malpractices such as exploitation and abuse are frequent and often go unpunished. Also many people doing domestic work are trafficked into this work. The number quoted during the speeches was 70%.

This convention would give domestic workers

  • minimum wage (€8.65) including over time

  • not work more than 48 hours per week

  • receive proper rest breaks

  • extra pay on Sundays and Bank Holidays

  • proper paid annual holidays

  • do not have to reside in the house they are working in

  • a written terms of employment and pay slip

  • be able to join a trade union

 

Domestic Worker's Action Group work to:

  1. Provide dosmetic workers information on their rights and entitlements.

  2. Campaign together for more robust laws to protect the rights of dosmetic workers.

  3. Support domestic workers in their efforts to receive their full rights and entitlements.

  4. Raise awareness of the issues faced by dosmetic workers.

  5. Build a strong organisation to represent the voices of dosmestic workers.

  • Author: TJ

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