Education International
Education International

ILO: Child labour challenged in demand for decent work

published 8 June 2011 updated 8 June 2011

At this week’s International Labour Conference, members of the International Labour Organisation will be presented with recommendations to support the safety of domestic workers, including provisions to combat child domestic labour.

The Convention and Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers is an important step forward to ensuring that workers and unions around the globe are united in their efforts to eradicate the exploitation of workers and children.

Organisations such as the EI-supported Global March Against Child Labour have created campaigns to support the convention and are optimistic about how it will fare at the Conference. The ILO Conference began on 1 June in Geneva.

EI’s Deputy General Secretary, Jan Eastman, said: “National and international trade unions must be firm proponents of human rights, as abuse of domestic workers and child labour affect every sector of society. Schools, and communities at large, suffer serious losses when their children are taken out of school to do unsafe and unfitting work. Passing this convention would be facilitate international cooperation against domestic labour abuse.”

The convention addresses various aspects of domestic work, such as labour migration and trafficking. For example, the recommendations support the rights of undocumented workers, who often remain unprotected against abuses because of their undocumented status. It will also set standards to prohibit forced labour, which has become a troubling reality for many workers, especially girls and women in countries throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The convention addresses these issues by proposing standards such as minimum working age and other plans for policy development and legislation.

A standardised and unifying agreement would strengthen the efforts of individual organisations in securing the rights of workers and children everywhere.

It is envisaged that the passage of this convention will serve as a catalyst for members of other organisations, including EI affiliates, to intensify their efforts to fight domestic labour abuse.