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June 2021 VODW Update

Welcome to our newsletter - as always, we'd appreciate it if you could share this with your network!

Domestic Worker Joy

Domestic Workers in the UK Continue to Fight for Labour Rights and Social Justice

June is an especially important month for Domestic workers globally because International Domestic Workers Day is celebrated on June 16 every year since the adoption of ILO C189, Decent Work for Domestic Workers. This month also marks the 10th anniversary of ILO C189, an international labour standard that protects and recognises domestic workers as workers. Domestic Workers are like any other workers - and should be entitled to decent work. According to ILO C189, Domestic Workers should essentially have the same basic labour rights as other workers such as reasonable hours of work, weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours, clear terms and conditions of employment, right to collective bargaining and right to join the association. 

 

For domestic workers in the UK, decent work is far from reality with the UK refusing to restore the rights of domestic workers, which the Government scrapped in 2012. Because domestic work is hidden and unregulated with many having unsecured immigration status, Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) are at high risk of abuse and exploitation and the pandemic has shown this specific vulnerability. And although domestic workers in the UK do have some rights, the restriction on Overseas Domestic Worker Visa with limited and non-renewable 6 Months visa makes it impossible for MDWs to access employment rights and social protection that trapped them in the hands of merciless and abusive employers. 

 

For MDWs in the UK, it’s a long walk on the fire to fully access labour rights and social justice. The Voice of Domestic Workers along with our allies Unite the Union, Kalayaan, TUC, Anti-slavery International, Freedom United, Flex, STOP THE TRAFFIK and many others continue to fight back to ensure domestic workers enjoy the same rights as other workers have.

Watch our video above! 

International Labour Organisation (ILO): Making decent work a reality for all domestic workers.The COVID19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role that domestic workers play in supporting the care needs of households, as well as the vulnerability they face earning a living behind closed doors.

WATCH: "Making decent work a reality for domestic workers"

Highlights on International Domestic Workers Day Celebrations

This year marks the 10th anniversary of ILO C189 since its adoption on June 16, 2011. Ten years on, domestic workers in the UK continue to fight for decent work and equality. The pandemic has exposed the worst conditions of domestic workers who were powerless when employers terminated them without notice and pay. The Voice of Domestic Workers commemorates the anniversary of ILO C189 by raising awareness and campaign to highlight the urgent need to ratify ILO C189 and reinstate the pre-2012 rights of migrant domestic workers which were scrapped by the government a year after the UK abstained from voting for this domestic workers convention.

13th June: Body and Mind Wellness Workshop went on Facebook Live

Every Sunday at 9 AM, we begin our every Sunday with exercise, dancing, singing and sharing. We also applied our daily self-care and sharing into ART so we can use it in the campaign of VODW. 

If you missed this event, you can still watch HERE.

15 June: British Academy: Listen to the Experts: Migrant Women Matter

WATCH: British Academy: "Listen to the Experts: Migrant Women Matter"

The migration debate is one of the most toxic issues in British politics. With discussions around freedom of movement noisy and polarised, migrant women’s first-hand experiences are often unseen and unheard. Yet, protecting the rights of migrant domestic workers in the UK – the majority of whom are women – has never been more urgent in this COVID-era, with growing numbers caught between destitution and severe exploitation. 

On the eve of the 10th International Domestic Workers’ Day, we ask Mimi Jalmasco and Marissa Begonia of The Voice of Domestic Workers and academic Ella Parry-Davies to discuss the unique issues facing migrant domestic workers at this time, what grassroots organisations are doing to bring women’s voices to the fore, and why countering ‘migrant-victim’ narratives is a crucial part of the challenge. 

Watch the full video from our conversation with the British Academy HERE.

16 JunePanel Event - 10 Years and Still Waiting: Time to Ratify the ILO C189, Decent Work for Domestic Workers

In this panel discussion, we bring together global updates on the ratification of ILO C189 and the impact on the national law of countries that have already ratified, implemented and enforced the ILO C189 decent work for domestic workers and learn the ways we could all do to push for UK government to ratify this convention.

16 June: STOP THE TRAFFIK Twitter Storm Takeover

Human trafficking prevention NGO STOP THE TRAFFIK allowed us to takeover their Twitter and shared about our story and #internationaldomesticworkersday on their socials. Check out the massive Twitter thread HERE!

June 17: ITUC: Organising Migrant Workers to Ensure Fair Recruitment

The Global Forum Responsible Recruitment last 12-15 April 2021, the ITUC supported by ILO, is conducting a meeting among trade union activists and organisers to share practices and approaches to organise migrant workers.

In this meeting, we will hear and learn from the experiences of Voice of Domestic Workers in the UK, STIEU from Sabah – Malaysia, GFBTU from Bahrain and GEFONT from Nepal. We will also discuss further how we can improve our efforts and strategies for organising migrant workers in different sectors.

June 26: Labour Party’s National National Women Conference

Session title: Main Plenary – Women united will never be defeated: Ending violence against women and girls. Our Director Marissa Begonia was one of the speakers of this year's National Annual Women Conference held on-line for the first time. Read Marissa’ speech HERE.

June 28-29: EFFAT Co-hosts Conference to Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the ILO C189 on Decent Work Domestic Workers

The Conference is organised by European-stakeholder Alliance between the ILO, the European Commission, Trade Unions and employers’ organisations.

Stakeholders campaign statements and raising awareness on June 16

 

Today, domestic workers, trade unionists, women’s rights activists and human rights defenders are celebrating the anniversary of a historical achievement: the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Domestic Workers Convention 189 (C189) and Recommendation 201. Read more HERE.

Dear Members of the European Parliament, the Committee of the Parties of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,

Today, on International Domestic Workers Day, 16 June 2021, La Strada International – European NGO Platform against trafficking in human beings, its members and other organisations supporting domestic workers rights in Europe, would like to ask you  to call upon your governments to ratify the Domestic Workers Convention and to take measures to ensure better protection and access to rights for domestic workers. Read more HERE.

To commemorate International Domestic Workers’ Day, Avril Sharp from Kalayaan and Marissa Begonia from the Voice of Domestic Workers discuss the significance of this date for domestic workers, and explain why the UK must restore rights under the UK Overseas Domestic Workers visa if it wants to prevent modern slavery. Read more HERE.

Class Updates

ESOL with English for Action

For the whole month of June, we studied the rights of Migrant domestic workers here in the UK and the ILO C189. Before we proceeded to our class we always had a game for brainstorming. This month we also had a role play. We were divided into 2 to 3 groups. The topic was all about the ratification of Convention 189, the National Referral Mechanism and the Pre-2012 Rights of Migrant domestic workers. We made a story and we acted. This session was very helpful and informative because some of the learners are not aware of the law and how to fight for their rights. Our tutors also tell us to attend some other workshops so we are more knowledgeable and able to communicate with other communities. They let us speak and share ideas with other students of English for Action and other organisations. This month, we attended a "Self-employment Workshop" and "Who can be self-employed?". What are the responsibilities and rights? 

Please watch our role play here: 

MediaCom

This Working group played a very important role in our campaign. For the past few weeks, we were producing campaign graphics and videos in the form of pictures, photographs, drawings, prints, and other forms of presentations as digital materials for the International Domestic Workers Day and the Ratification of ILO C189 campaigns.

Body, Mind and Wellness

Every session in Body, Mind and Wellness is meaningful and helpful. Our facilitator Roman Barry reminds us to always look after ourselves, self-care, be more assertive, communicate, know our worth and know our strength. We also discussed Domestic Work as decent work and importantly, that we value our work and that we are proud of who we are and what we are. See the example photo above.

Information Technology

This month's lesson was a bit of a review on Google Sheet and now they proceed learning the other Google features such as "Google Slide". As you can see on the image they are making different shapes and adding different colors. Not only that they explore the features and the benefits of Google Slides. Students know what is the different usage of every icon. They had a presentation two weeks ago. The presentation goes well for the beginners. The presentation also equipped them to be able to speak as a way of preparing them to be public speakers and campaigners. They are now looking forward to learning more and to know how to put animation.

Financial Coaching

Our current session was all about saving, spending and budgeting. These topics begin our Financial health journey. It was nice to remember when we started and that was also a reminder to us. This month was memorable because we met the TAYO team in other countries. We shared our stories and our journey being a domestic worker and how we became a student of Financial Wellbeing Workshop. We celebrate International Domestic Workers Day online. Parlour Games is one the best parts of this event. We enjoyed and received prizes. Our work matters but what matters most is to “Love Yourself”. 

Last Saturday, June 26, 2021, we had a picnic and classes at Regents Park London. That was our first meeting after the lockdown was implemented.

#DomesticWorkers

Community News

My Home is Not My Home in People’s History Museum

An exhibition and video installation made by 12 women from The Voice of Domestic Workers, a campaign and support group of migrant domestic workers.This powerful and moving exhibition gives a unique and intimate insight into the hidden world of the domestic work carried out in private homes, from women whose stories tell of exploitation, abuse and ultimately, strength in solidarity and community.  These stories provide us with new ways to think about what we see (or don’t see) in migrant domestic workers, and ultimately, in ourselves. The PHM will host a live Q&A on July 4 at 2 PM with Domestic Workers who participated in this participatory film, Dr, Joyce Jiang and Tassia Kobylinska.If you are in Manchester catch us live in the museum.

Covid-19 Update

June 19 was supposed to be the Freedom Day in England but the government said it will move to July 19 the earliest. Many people complained, so in response, the Government declared that on June 21 certain changes regarding restrictions. Thirty people are now allowed to gather outdoors and six indoors. But still the wearing of masks will continue in shops and on public transport and work-from-home guidance remains, alongside table service in pubs and restaurants.

The Delta variant is also dominant globally and vaccinated adults are less at risk to be infected than unvaccinated adults. We encouraged some members and non-members of The Voice of Domestic Workers to receive  the vaccine. Our members (photo below) who have not registered to health centre and no National Insurance number (requirements to access vaccine) were able to access vaccine on this particular day offered for undocumented migrants. It was a long queue but the most important thing is they now feel safer.

VODW will continue to find ways to make sure our members can register to the health centre despite not having a passport (employers often confiscated their passports and they couldn’t provide proof of address because the home is not their home but workplace where they also live.

Doctors of the World 

Please READ  the briefing of Doctors of the World on guidelines to access vaccines and access to register to GP which include the European citizens entitlement to healthcare.

International News

EFFAT:10 years since the adoption of the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, EFFAT releases today a new booklet: ‘Domestic Workers in Europe: Getting the Recognition they Deserve’ [Link]

Domestic work is a growing sector crucial for the EU economy, contributing to giving care to an ageing EU population, providing services to millions of households in Europe, creating millions of jobs, and employing millions of migrant workers.

Globally, the  celebration of International Domestic Workers Day continues not just to honour Domestic Workers  for their economic contribution but also to work together to ensure that decent work is guaranteed to over 67 Million domestic workers. Ten years on since the historic landmark of the ILO C189, Decent Work for Domestic Workers or also known as Domestic Workers Convention has now 32 ratifications including 8 EU countries.

We call for all Governments to ratify and implement the ILO C189, Domestic Workers deserve better rights and social protection. Your support is the strong thread of strength that keeps us living and fighting!

Please Watch!

Happy International Domestic Workers Day! Let’s keep the momentum going!

We are Domestic Workers, We fight for our rights!

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