Campaign launched to promote rights of domestic workers

Jamaica’s Ministry of Labour has launched a media campaign aimed at engendering widespread support for the rights of household workers throughout the country.   

The campaign comes as members of the Jamaica Household Workers Union increase calls for the Government to ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 189, Advancing Decent Work for Domestic Workers.   

Errol Miller, Chief Technical Director in the Labour Ministry, has confirmed that the matter with the Attorney General for an opinion as to whether a recommendation can be made for the Government to ratify the Convention.   

According to Mr. Miller, ratification is dependent on Jamaica bringing its laws in sync with the Convention which is an agreement to protect the rights of household workers around the world.

Governments which sign the Convention agree to change local laws and take actions to protect the rights of  these workers.

Inadequate registration

Meanwhile, a study has highlighted the absence of  a registration system for household workers in Jamaica.

It noted that the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica estimates that there are 58,000 - 100,000 such workers.

Consultant Dr. Leith Dunn, of  the Institute of  Gender and Development Studies at the University of  the West Indies, Mona, told RJR News that one of  the recommendations is for a comprehensive registration of  household workers.

Dr. Dunn explained that many household workers are vulnerable, as they have no form of  social protection such as government pension or National Housing Trust contributions. She pointed to the fact that a majority of  household workers have no written contract, which can lead to abuse.  

Shirley Pryce, Executive Director of the Jamaica Household Workers Union, disclosed that, since last year, the organization has increased its membership from 1,200 to 3,600.


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