Domestic Workers


Globalilsation and liberalization have increased inequalities between rich and poor, urban and rural and in plantations. Consequently, those in the rural and areas migrate to metropolitan areas as domestic workers. They cook, clean, do the laundry, provide care to children and elderly people. However their service is under – valued, underpaid and unrecognized. About 82% of these workers, numbering over 200000 are women and children.

No labour law covers them. No trade union has organized them. They are not entitled to social security benefits, such as EPF, ETF, gratuity or maternity benefits. Lack of awareness about their rights and privileges makes them vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, harassment and trafficking.

Concerned over the plight of these workers the NTUF initiated action to organise domestic workers. Against this background, the adoption of convention 189 on Domestic Workers by the ILO in June 2011, has been a god sent.

Since then we have launched a continuous campaign to pressurize the government to ratify the convention. A special action committee comprising trade unions, civil societies and NGOs have been set up to deal with the subject. Activities undertaken by the committee included a public meeting, a street walk, display of posters and banners, distribution of leaflets and the signing of a mass petition to be submitted to His Excellency the President.

Meanwhile a project has been designed for three districts of the Island for the upliftment of these workers. The project comprises three phases.

  1. Build strong domestic workers trade union and leadership.
  2. Network migrant workers federation with foreign trade union movements.
  3. Increase and promote living standards of domestic workers and their families.

We have requested sponsorship of the project from ACTRAV of the ILO and hope to execute the project shortly.