ILO Türkiye Office: “We are ready to support all efforts aimed at improving the working rights of domestic workers”

At an event held by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for Türkiye as part of the International Domestic Workers Day, which was marked by the request for a legislation amendment aimed at improving the working conditions of domestic workers, ILO Türkiye Office expressed its willingness to provide support to all efforts in this regard .

News | 15 June 2023
As part of the International Domestic Workers' Day on 16 June, the ILO Office in Türkiye organized an event entitled "More and Better Jobs for Domestic Workers. Where We Stand and What are the Next Steps?" in Ankara on 13 June 2023 with the participation of relevant parties to contribute to the enabling of decent working conditions for domestic workers.

Emphasis on social dialogue

During the event, which brought together representatives from relevant public institutions, social partners, domestic workers, academia, and civil society organizations, Giovanni di Cola, Officer in Charge of the ILO Office for Türkiye, said: "The social dialogue mechanism, in which domestic workers and employer organizations collaborate with decision-makers, is crucial for making decent work a reality for domestic workers.”

"We are aware of the work being done in Türkiye to allow the transition of domestic workers to formal employment and we find it very important. We are ready to support all efforts aimed at enabling domestic workers to work in decent working conditions."

Demand for “Legislation amendment and Ratification of ILO C189”

The event, during which outputs of the campaign launched by the ILO Türkiye Office in June 2021 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of ILO Convention No. 189 were also evaluated, was designed to draw attention to the problems of precarious domestic workers, most of whom are women, with a view to finding solutions with the relevant parties and to contributing to the decent working conditions of domestic workers.

At the event, the most common demands expressed by the participants were that domestic workers should be considered as workers, that they should be offered with more social protection, that it should be easier for them to organize, that legislative amendments should be made regarding occupational health and safety, and that ILO C189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers should be ratified.

“Ensuring labor standards is a multilateral and time-consuming process”

Speaking at the event organized within the scope of the "More and Better Jobs for Women" Program implemented by the ILO Office in Türkiye with funding of Sweden, Malin Stawe, Undersecretary of the Embassy of Sweden in Ankara, expressed that Sweden is happy to contribute to improving the working conditions of domestic workers within the scope of the "More and Better Jobs for Women" Program.

"Domestic workers have the right to work in decent working conditions, including social protection," said Stawe, adding that progress on labor standards is a multilateral and time-consuming process.

“Work for domestic workers underway”

Mehmet Baş, Deputy Director General of Labor at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security of the Republic of Turkey, who attended the event, said: "We continue our efforts to protect the rights of domestic workers. Although ILO Convention No. 189 has not yet been ratified, this is a process and we hope it will be ratified as soon as possible.”

At the event, Claire Hobden, Technical Officer, Decent Work for Domestic Workers at ILO Headquarters, evaluated the impact of Convention No. 189 on the working conditions of domestic workers at the global level, while Ceyhun Güler from Izmir Dokuz Eylül University, who has conducted extensive studies on domestic workers, gave information on the prominent demands and recommendations regarding the working conditions of domestic workers.

Prof. Dr. Ceyhun Güler said, "The contributions of ILO and social partners are very important for identifying and solving the problems of domestic workers and ensuring decent work for domestic workers."

“As domestic workers, we want to work more safely, securely and organized”

The event also hosted a panel with the participation of Hatice Ayhan, Head of the Women Committee of Hizmet-İş Union which is affiliated with Hak-İş Confederation; Ekin Sarı Akalın from DİSK Genel-İş Union; Uğur Selçuk Kutupoğlu from the Belediye-İş Union, which is affiliated with the TÜRK-İŞ Confederation; Minire İnal from the İMECE Domestic Workers Union; and Gülhan Benli, President of Domestic Workers Solidarity Union (EVİD-SEN).

In the session moderated by Dr. Ayşe Emel Akalın, Gender Analyst at the ILO Office in Türkiye, where the priorities of workers' organizations were discussed with the aim of improving the working conditions of domestic workers, domestic workers expressed that they work under harsh conditions and that they want to work in a safer, more secure and organized manner.