NZ plays key role in breakthrough for domestic workers

NZ plays key role in breakthrough for domestic workers

Millions of domestic workers around the world stand to gain improved working conditions following a vote at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) last week.

The ILO has adopted a set of international standards requiring domestic workers to get the same labour rights as other workers.

Countries that adopt the standards will have a commitment to enforce those rights.

New Zealand’s ILO employer representative, BusinessNZ employment specialist Paul Mackay, was the lead negotiator representing global employers on the issue.

Mr Mackay said the historic vote was well overdue.

“It has taken years for this issue to be dealt with partly because of sensitivities among countries that have historically failed to institute protections for domestic workers. It is a credit to the ILO process that the rights of domestic workers can now be recognised everywhere.”

Domestic workers are vulnerable to abuse in many parts of the world, including migrant workers whose passports are often confiscated and who are worked long hours for little pay. The new ILO standards would require a ban on such practices and require domestic workers to receive normal workplace rights.

The ILO is a United Nations body that brings together Government, employer and worker delegates from all member countries to set standards on workplace practice.

Mr Mackay says the employment conditions of domestic workers is not a problem in New Zealand but it was a positive outcome for New Zealand to have helped address the problem internationally and for the employer group to have advanced employee interests in this area.

BusinessNZ represents New Zealand’s employers at the ILO.




22 Jun, 2011

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