Ratification of C189 in Mauritius, where recently about 50,000 domestic workers saw their access to a pension funds improved

After the first ratifications of C189 in the Americas (Uruguay) and Asia-Pacific (Philippines), now the Africa region has put itself on the map with the ratification in Mauritius in September 2012. After extensive lobbying of ITUC affiliates MTUC, MLC, NTUC, C189 was scheduled for discussion at the Labour Advisory Council, followed by a positive recommendation of the government and trade unions to the Cabinet of Ministers.

This resulted in the government’s decision to ratify C189. Unfortunately, the employers’ organisation did not support the ratification. It is significant that out of the 500,000 workers in Mauritius, almost 10 per cent are domestic workers. Half of them are part-time workers.

The ratification coincides with another breakthrough: in the budget of 2012 the Government decided to pay the workers’ contribution for the National Pension Fund and for the transitional Unemployment Benefits (for those domestic workers earning up to 3,000 rupees monthly).

This enhances their social protection and will encourage domestic workers to ask their employer to pay their part of the contribution.

More domestic workers, when reaching the age of retirement, will be eligible for a pension – a right like any other worker in Mauritius.
Mauritian domestic workers also seek jobs as domestic workers outside the country, in particular in Italy, France, and the Arab countries. Domestic workers are organised by unions who cover multiple sectors, e.g., agriculture, private sector employees, cooks, etc.