World Day Against Child Labour


child-labour(June 12) The ITUC is calling on governments to step up commitment to the global fight against child labour, with new evidence from the ILO that progress is slowing.  215 million children are still at work instead of in school.

“The two ILO Conventions on child labour have been ratified by the vast majority of governments, but tens of millions of children are experiencing the exploitation and misery of child labour when they should be getting a decent education.  The economic crisis, and the obsession with austerity, are severely hampering efforts to get the children out of work and into school,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

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ILO: 52 Million in Domestic Work Worldwide

by Tula Connell

ILO-52-Million-in-Domestic-Work-Worldwide_mediumSome 52 million people older than 15—primarily women—labor as domestic workers around the world, according to a report released today by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Of those, 83 percent are women. The vast number of domestic workers, 21.4 million, are in Asia and the Pacific region, with 19.6 million in Latin America, 5.2 million in Africa and 2.1 million in the Middle East.

These figures exclude child domestic workers younger than 15. The ILO, in 2008, estimated 7.4 million children work in domestic labor.

This first-of-its-kind ILO report is meant to further spotlight the plight of domestic workers, many of whom are vulnerable to abuses—from low wages and long hours to physical abuse and human trafficking.

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Report Finds Many Domestic Workers Receive Poverty-Level Wages and are Subject to High Levels of Abuse

New York, NY – Today, the National Domestic Workers Alliance released a groundbreaking new report, Home Economics: The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Work, examining the state of domestic work in the US. More than 2,000 nannies, house cleaners, and caregivers were surveyed in 14 cities, drawing for the first time an empirically grounded picture of what it means to be a domestic worker in 21st century America.

“Domestic workers care for our children, they care for our parents, and they care for our homes. Yet, all too often, we fail to recognize their importance to our families and to the economy,” said Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “These women do the work that makes all other work possible, and they deserve the protections afforded by US law.”

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Unions to Saudi Arabia: King Must End Slavery of Domestic Workers

8 March 2012: The international union movement is marking the occasion of International Women’s Day by writing to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on behalf 1.5 million women domestic workers calling on him to support laws which give domestic workers the same rights as all other workers.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, said domestic workers are excluded from labour legislation in the Saudi Kingdom and open to serious exploitation and abuse. Most workers are migrant woman from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines and India.

“On International Women’s Day the International Trade Union movement and the 12 x 12 campaign for domestic workers rights are calling on Saudi Arabia to be the first country to ratify the ILO Convention on domestic workers,” said Sharan Burrow.

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Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired, Domestic Workers Organize

by Maria Svart

Domestic Workers United

Domestic workers (nannies and others) in New York State could finally be on their way to winning basic labor protections.  These workers, as well as agricultural workers, are largely people of color, and have  always been excluded from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  The NLRA was created under the Franklin Roosevelt administration as part of the New Deal, providing federal legislative protection for the right to organize to many types of workers.

After decades of laboring in isolation, particularly susceptible to exploitation because of that isolation and because the vast majority of domestic workers are immigrant women of color, these women have fought and are likely to win passage of a state law that would require paid holidays, sick days and vacation days, and overtime wages. It would require 14 days’ notice, or termination pay, before firing a domestic worker.

The New York Young Democratic Socialists (the DSA youth section) endorsed the campaign of the Domestic Workers United (DWU) several years ago, inviting a DWU leader to speak at our national conferences and a local event about women workers empowering themselves through organizing,  and participated in a letter writing campaign to the state senate about the bill.

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