Saturday, November 12, 2016

Jamaica adopts “decent work” convention

Members of Jamaica Household Workers Union were joined by supporters from UN Women for their celebration of the adoption of the ILO Decent Work Convention 189
Excerpt from Observer column published Nov 7, 2016
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Last Wednesday morning Shirley Price, Founder & President of the Jamaica Household Workers Union led a jubilant band of members and supporters at a victory march around Emancipation Park, celebrating the announcement of Prime Minister Andrew Holness at the United Nations in September that Jamaica would be a signatory to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 189, also known as the Decent Work Convention for Household Workers. 
Among the distinguished participants were Hon. Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment & Sport; Executive Director of the UN Women, Madame Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Regional Director, Ms. Luiza Carvalho and Jamaica’s own Pat Francis, lead coordinator of the United Nations secretary general's high-level panel on Women's Economic Empowerment.

It has been a long road for Shirley Price and this column has been supporting her valiant efforts.  ILO Convention 189 details the rights of domestic workers who have far too long, been disrespected and abused.  We can be proud that there are Labour Laws in Jamaica which provides some level of protection but the implementation of this convention will uphold the rights of the nearly 60,000 household workers in Jamaica.  Here are some of the imperatives of signatories to ILO C189.
-         freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
-         Each Member shall take measures to ensure that domestic workers enjoy effective protection against all forms of abuse, harassment and violence.
-         Each Member shall take measures to ensure that domestic workers, like workers generally, enjoy fair terms of employment as well as decent working conditions and, if they reside in the household, decent living conditions that respect their privacy.
- Each Member shall take measures to ensure that domestic workers are informed of their terms and conditions of employment in an appropriate, verifiable and easily understandable manner and preferably, where possible, through written contracts in accordance with national laws, regulations or collective agreements.  in particular. This includes: normal hours of work; paid annual leave, and daily and weekly rest periods; the provision of food and accommodation, if applicable

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