On 16 June 2011, the International Labour Organisation adopted Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers. This Convention seeks to reverse the historical social and gender injustice between the invisibility and scant recognition given to domestic work and its fundamental role in development, both in the productive and reproductive spheres.
The Jesuit Migrant Service supports the just demands of domestic and care workers who have been fighting for years for the recognition of their rights. The ratification of Convention 189 would be an important step towards the recognition of the right to unemployment benefits, among other labour rights that are denied to domestic workers.
Globally, 90% of the more than 70 million workers, mostly migrant women and girls, work in these jobs exposed to various forms of exploitation, abuse and violations of their human rights.
At state level, one in three domestic workers lives below the poverty line despite their fundamental role in organising care. They bear the brunt of the deficits in our care system.
Convention 189 is binding on member states that ratify it and commits them to equalising the rights of domestic workers with those of other workers. Hence the importance of Spain’s ratification. We hope that the Spanish government’s declarations to initiate the procedure for the ratification of this convention will come to fruition soon.
If there is one thing that SJM organisations have learned from the women we accompany, and which has been further highlighted in the context of Covid-19, it is that domestic and care work is essential and that caring for those who care for is a cause of justice.