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Cullinane calls on government to ratify Domestic Workers’ Convention

12 December, 2012 - by David Cullinane TD

Senator David Cullinane has backed the call made by the Migrant Rights Centre, the Domestic Workers’ Convention, SIPTU and ICTU for the Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Employment Richard Bruton to ratify the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers
Speaking today from Leinster House, the Sinn Féin Senator endorsed the initiative taken by these groups, who will today hand a petition over to the Minister as part of a global day of action on the issue.
“Ireland has recently been nominated onto the Human Rights Council in the UN, and will take over the presidency of the EU at the start of next year, and this presents an excellent opportunity for us to show leadership in this area, and to highlight commitment to workers’ rights. "
"Unfortunately, due to the nature of the work, which largely happens behind closed doors, it is far too easy for the authorities to adopt an approach of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’"
"This is unacceptable, and the lack of protection afforded these workers only adds to the difficulties facing an already vulnerable category of workers, who tend to be overwhelmingly female, unionised, and migrant workers."
"I recently conference in UCC which explored the difficulties which exist in protecting migrant domestic workers, and it would be hard not to be affected or angered by some of the accounts that the conference heard, of the abuse and exploitation of such domestic workers both internationally and indeed in Ireland."
"A 2010 MRCI survey indicated 40 per cent of domestic workers reported they did not have an employment contract, while 44 per cent raised a complaint with their employer about their unfair treatment but their concern was ignored. They have also highlighted that these workers can often work 60 or 70 hours a week for as little as 25c an hour."
"This is appalling and unacceptable, however ratifying the convention would constitute a welcome first step in halting the exploitation of domestic workers."
"The groups involved deserve to be commended for their initiative, this day of action is taking place in some 84 different countries, and that is very important given that there was such wide-spread support for the convention, and the rate of ratification remains low."
"We will offer whatever support we can to the campaign, and will continue to put pressure on the Minister to ratify this convention, so that this very vulnerable category of workers is protected."

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