12 by 12 Campaign: Six Countries Grant Rights to Domestic Workers in 2012

With six countries having ratified the ILO Convention No 189 on domestic workers in 2012, the ITUC’s 12 by 12 campaign is well on track. In addition to Uruguay, Philippines, Mauritius, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Paraguay, a number of other countries worldwide have made commitments to improve the working and living conditions of domestic workers.

December 12 is a symbolic date for the 12 by 12 campaign, which is the reason why today trade unions and activists are mobilising thousands of workers in 50 countries to put pressure on decision makers and encourage governments to enact the hardly needed laws that would give domestic workers a decent work and a decent life.

“The reality of the vast majority of domestic workers today is simply slavery,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary. “Trade unions, domestic workers’ associations and their allies are changing this reality by demanding through the 12 by 12 campaign rights and benefits for this category of workers who are underpaid, not recognised and not respected.”

The ILO Convention 189, adopted a year ago, guarantees the right of domestic workers to collectively defend their interests through trade unions and their access to a decent minimum wage just like any other worker. The international treaty further provides for a day off per week, a monthly payment and access to social security including in the case of maternity.

“The 12 by 12 campaign is giving hope to millions of domestic workers around the world,” said Elisabeth Tang, coordinator of the international domestic workers’ network. “The massive mobilisation of domestic workers’ organisations and trade unions throughout the world combined with the passage of new laws and policies are important victories that make a huge difference in the lives of these millions of women whose work has been undervalued for generations,” she added.

On 12 December, important mobilisations of the 12 by 12 campaign will take place in in Indonesia, Senegal, Costa Rica, and Panama among others.

The ‘12 by 12’ Campaign is an initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in partnership with the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Public Service International (PSI), 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 (MFA), World Solidarity and Caritas.

For the latest updates check out the ITUC campaign web page and the Campaign Facebook page

See the IDWN website

See the 12-12-12 Flyer

For further information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 62 10 18

photo: Gaetan Nerinck