April 26, 2012—Trade union activists, as well as domestic workers, are thrilled to see a breakthrough in the "12 by 12" campaign: Uruguay made history by being the first country to ratify International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 189 (C189), Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
||Dominican domestic workers march in "12 by 12" campaign. Photo courtesy of ITUC
Uruguay’s ratification of C189 yesterday by the House of Representatives will have a significant impact on domestic worker rights in Uruguay and worldwide: C189 comes into force once two countries have ratified it. There are 14 million domestic workers in Latin America including 120,000 in Uruguay.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) launched the "12 by 12" campaign in December 2011, following the historical adoption of C189 at the International Labor Conference (ILC) on June 16, 2011. The campaign is an initiative of the ITUC in partnership with the International Domestic Workers Network; the European Trade Union Confederation; Public Services International; the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF); Human Rights Watch; Anti-Slavery International; Solidar; Migrant Forum Asia; World Solidarity; and Caritas. The campaign goal is 12 ratifications of C189 in 2012 and the strengthening of domestic workers’ unions.
Countries that ratify C189 have to adopt laws that recognize the right of domestic workers to collectively defend their interests through trade unions. In addition, C189 protects the right of domestic workers to a minimum wage in countries where such a wage exists; guarantees them a monthly payment and access to social security including in the case of maternity; and gives them one day off per week and regulates their working hours and leave days. C189 recognizes domestic work as any other work and ensures that domestic workers are treated as any other worker under labor legislation.
The "12 by 12" campaign is now operational in 73 countries around the world. They are undertaking actions to demand the ratification of C189 and changes in national legislation. Actions range from marches in the streets and other public events to the inclusion of C189 in tripartite meetings (e.g., in Nordic countries, the Philippines, South Africa, and Brazil).
Cross-posted from ITUC Online, April 26, 2012