The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) has declared intentions to demand Government ratify and implement Convention 189 of the International Labour Organisation as it officially takes up the fight to attain decent and fairer working conditions for domestic workers.
The Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers was established in 2011 and aims to safeguard the dignity of workers by guaranteeing better working conditions.
BWU General Secretary Toni Moore, addressing the 77th Annual Delegates’ Conference at Solidarity House this morning, after several domestic workers and their families shared troubling experiences of inhumane treatment by employers, hailed today’s development as the culmination of years of planning.
“I want to take you back on a journey at that began years ago. A journey within the Barbados Workers’ Union that commenced even before the International Labour Organization contemplated a Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. The Barbados Workers’ Union was conscious that domestic workers represented one of many vulnerable categories in this society,” Moore stated.
The union leader explained that while there were exemplary employers too many domestic workers continue to complain of exploitative conditions which included, demeaning tasks, unreasonably long hours without over time and a general lack of respect from employers.
She has also made it clear that the days of an employer diminishing the value of domestic workers to the point of slavery was over.
“There is the kind of thinking that all jobs don’t matter. Domestic workers have been singled out to work in appalling conditions. We cannot operate in a society where all jobs coexist so that we could function as a whole but yet there is one type of treatment for one set of workers and another type of treatment for another set,” Moore said even as she noted that the issue of mistreatment of domestic workers was not unique to Barbados but a worldwide problem.
Following Moore’s remarks the winners of the first ever Domestic Workers’ Champion were announced with Marcia Padmore topping the list of entries followed by Shirlan Jack and Wendy Trim.