Domestic workers - 12 + 12

The End of Modern-day Slavery: There are over 100 million workers employed to do work in someone else’s house all over world. These domestic workers clean, cook, do laundry, provide care to children and the elderly and lots more. Their work is undervalued, underpaid, invisible, not recognised, and not respected. The majority of domestic workers are women (82%) – many are migrants or children.

In many countries domestic workers are excluded from labour legislation and social protection schemes. Many are denied the right, either in law or in practice, to form or join a trade union. As a result, mistreatment, exploitation, violence, and physical and sexual abuse are frequent and often go unpunished.

In June 2011 the UN body that deals with labour issues, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), adopted Convention 189 (C189) and Recommendation 201 (R201) on Domestic Workers.

Convention 189 recognises the right of domestic workers to join and form trade unions, which is still forbidden in many countries. It also protects the right to minimum wage in countries where it exists, and protects monthly payments and access to social security including in the case of maternity. The Convention gives domestic workers one day off per week and regulates their working hours.

In essence, the Convention guarantees that domestic workers are treated as any other worker under labour legislation. This Convention will enter into force once two countries have ratified it.

12 by 12 campaign

In December 2011, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) launched the “12 x 12” worldwide campaign on getting 12 countries to ratify ILO Convention No 189 by the end of 2012. The campaign has already mobilised 12 by 12 coalitions in 73 countries, demanding the ratification of Convention No 189 and better national laws. The 12 by 12 coalitions take various actions to get the attention of decision makers, organise public events to promote ILO Convention No 189 and reach out to groups and organisations supportive of domestic workers rights.

Keep up the pressure and call for the ratification of ILO Convention No189!

What can you do?

  • Check the 12 by 12 website
  • Put the 12 by 12 logo on your website and join us on Facebook where hundreds of activists
  • Connect and share information and updates on the ’12 by 12’ campaign:!/groups/231305920281513/
  • Take actions and organise events with domestic workers, trade unions and supportive organisations as part of the ’12 by 12’ campaign. Invite the media, take pictures and post them
    on the web!
  • Promote the 12 by 12 campaign and raise the importance of ILO Convention No 189 at all fora, meetings and events in which you take part.
  • Write letters, articles, tweets on the 12 by 12 campaign.
  • Sign up to the ’12 by 12’ newsletter ([email protected]) .
  • Speak up in defence of domestic workers rights!
  • Much more

Join our campaign to support the rights of domestic workers in your country!

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 Right Watch, Anti-Slavery International, Solidar, Migrant Forum Asia (MFA), World Solidarity and Caritas.

Join our campaign for rights and protection for domestic workers