Agreements for the protection of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) between workers' organisations
- Responsible Organisations: International Labour Organization (ILO) (Government); International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) (Trade Union); CONLACTRAHO (Trade Union); ADESP (Trade Union); Sintradi (Trade Union); Sintradop/CNT (Trade Union); UPACP (Trade Union); SINPECAF (Trade Union); International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) (Trade Union); Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA-CSA) (Trade Union); Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) (Trade Union); Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied Workers Union (ZDAWU) (Trade Union); South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU) (Trade Union); Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) (Trade Union); Lesotho Trade Union Congress (LTCU) (Trade Union); Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) (Trade Union); Confederation of Indonesian Prosperity Trade Union (K-SBSI) (Trade Union); Trade Union Congress of Malaysia (MTUC) (Trade Union); All Ukrainian Organization of Workers Solidarity (VOST 'VOLYA') (Trade Union); NSZZ 'Solidarnosc' (Trade Union); General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) (Trade Union); KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation (Civil society); Anti-Slavery International (Civil society)
- ILO Regions: Africa; Americas; Arab States; Asia and the Pacific; Europe and Central Asia; Global
- Country(ies): Argentina; Indonesia; Lebanon; Lesotho; Malaysia; Nepal; Paraguay; Poland; South Africa; Ukraine; Zimbabwe
- Thematic areas: Protection; Strengthening workers' and employers' organisations
- MLFLM: 8.; 9.(a),(b),(c); 11.; 2.; 6.
- Sectors: Domestic work
ILO's Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration, published in 2006, calls on workers' organisations in countries of origin and destination to engage in bilateral and multilateral agreements providing for the exchange of information and transfer of membership. With the support of the ILO's Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and Their Families (GAP-MDW), and of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), a project partner, workers' organisations have sought to collaborate for the protection of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) along all five of the migration corridors on which GAP-MDW focuses: Ukraine-Poland, Zimbabwe-South Africa, Indonesia-Malaysia, Nepal-Lebanon, and Paraguay-Argentina. The agreements are outlined below.
1. Paraguay - Argentina: Bi-national workers' agreement promoting decent work for MDWs
A bi-national agreement promoting decent work for MDWs migrating from Paraguay to Argentina was concluded in Santiago de Chile on 20-21 September 2014, during a bi-national meeting organised by GAP-MDW. The agreement was signed by CONLACTRAHO, ADESP, Sintradi, Sintradop/CNT, UPACP, SINPECAF, the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) and the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA-CSA), in order to support the continuation of joint activities of trade unions and domestic workers' organisations from both countries as well as to strengthen organisations in Paraguay and their relations with regional and international unions. Under this agreement, an Action Plan for the next 15 months was established, which is being implemented in coordination with TUCA-CSA and the IDWF with the support of the ILO. According to the Action Plan, an online Union Network will be established and a communication strategy will be developed in order to promote the knowledge and exercise the rights of domestic workers and migrants. The strategy will also include the adoption of the CSA campaign 'Work like no other, rights as any other' with an exchange of materials and information on domestic workers in Argentina and Paraguay, using social network tools to facilitate communication. The agreement also intends to strengthen the union of domestic workers and their alliances with the labour union confederations through trainings, bi-national meetings and exchanges of good practices.
2. Zimbabwe - Lesotho - South Africa: Tri-national workers' declaration promoting labour and human rights of MDWs
A declaration was signed by trade unions and domestic workers' organisations at a tri-national workshop that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 10-11 October 2014. The declaration commits signatories to support and strengthen the capacity of national unions for domestic and migrant domestic workers and lobby the three governments to continue to implement their decent work country programmes incorporating the rights of migrant workers. Representatives of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied Workers Union (ZDAWU), South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU), Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), Lesotho Trade Union Congress (LTCU), and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have committed to support the strategies promoting human and labour rights of migrant domestic workers along the South Africa, Lesotho and Zimbabwe corridor and to implement the action plans developed during the workshop, which would contribute to efforts for the promotion of decent work in the sector. Additionally, a communication strategy was agreed upon in order to create a platform for the trade union organisations from the three different countries to exchange information and share experiences relating to activities/campaigns executed on the national level.
3. Indonesia - Malaysia: Memorandum of Understanding between K-SBSI and MTUC
The Confederation of Indonesian Prosperity Trade Union (K-SBSI) and the Trade Union Congress of Malaysia (MTUC) concluded an MoU in 2009 with the aim of jointly developing a system of protection of the rights of migrant workers in Malaysia. The MoU envisages close collaboration in such areas as campaigns, social dialogue, capacity building and assistance for domestic workers. Additionally, the TUs have drawn up a specific action plan calling for lobbying of the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia to take necessary measures for the protection of the rights of migrant domestic workers and their family members. Under the agreement, the K-SBSI and MTUC established information centres for migrant workers in Indonesia and Malaysia and conducted joint activities for the protection of MDWs. At the same time, both K-SBSI and MTUC agree on the need to revise the MoU and update their Action Plan in order to ensure better protection of MDWs. GAP-MDW is providing technical advice and consultations on how to revive the MoU between K-SBSI and MTUC.
4. Ukraine - Poland: Declaration of cooperation between VOST 'VOLYA' and NSZZ 'Solidarnosc'
In 2014, the All Ukrainian Organization of Workers Solidarity (VOST 'VOLYA') signed a declaration of cooperation with the Polish trade union NSZZ 'Solidarnosc' together with the Protocol on Cooperation for the protection of migrant workers, including migrant domestic workers, with Italian trade unions. The NSZZ 'Solidarnosc' declared its full support for the European aspirations of Ukraine and is open to cooperation with VOST. At the moment, VOST remains in contact with the Polish union to promote further collaboration to protect Ukrainian migrant domestic workers in Poland and to explore the possibility of creation of a joint action plan. During the VOST 'VOLYA' workshop on the 'Role of trade unions in the protection of MDWs' (December 2014), organised under the auspices of GAP-MDW, the question of means of collaboration with NSZZ 'Solidarnosc' was raised.
5. Nepal - Lebanon: NARI - group of Nepalese women MDWs in Lebanon
In September 2013, with the aim of protecting the rights of Nepalese migrant workers in Lebanon, the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) formed the GEFONT Support Group (GSG) of Women Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon. The initiative to organise Nepalese domestic workers was supported by Anti-Slavery International and KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation. As a result, a group of Nepalese women domestic workers in Lebanon (NARI) was organised with the aim of educating other Nepalese migrant women about their rights in Lebanon, providing support to Nepalese domestic workers who face labour and human rights violations, and collaborating with other migrant community leaders. These various initiatives provided a space for migrant workers to take a greater role in advocacy efforts and also helped communities bridge cultural divides. The efforts of NARI in assisting migrant domestic workers have been strengthened with the creation of the first Domestic Workers Union in Lebanon (in January 2015), the Founding Congress and preparation activities of which were supported by GAP-MDW.