Protecting poor women

BWU Gender Equality Committee - Supporters of ILO Convention 189 - Decent Work for Domestic Workers, took to the streets on International Women’s Day to share their message.
BWU Gender Equality Committee – Supporters of ILO Convention 189 – Decent Work for Domestic Workers, took to the streets on International Women’s Day to share their message.

The rights of underprivileged female workers were highlighted this morning.

Starting from Queen’s Park, dozens of women came out to march with the Barbados Worker’s Union, bearing placards that called for better treatment for gas station attendants, domestic workers and other female workers at the lower rungs.

The union’s Gender Equality Committee also delivered a petition to the Ministry of Labour calling for the support of the International Labour Convention 189 – Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

Labour minister Senator Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo received the petition this morning, and assured those present that Government would continue to support the convention’s adoption and ratification, along with other efforts to champion employee rights.

“Last year we did lay in Parliament the ILO recommendation for domestic workers, so we are on our way to ratifying [it]… Last year, we also started, in conjunction with UN Women [and the Bureau of Gender Affairs], a study looking at identifying the challenges that our domestic workers face… Coming out of that survey, we will be able to have discussions with our tripartite partners that will lead us to looking at legislation,” Suckoo noted.

Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to workers rights.
Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to workers rights.

Coordinator of the BWU Gender Equality Committee, Wilma Clement, thanked the minister for her continued focus on the issues at hand and acknowledged government’s commitment to the plight of domestic workers, having been a part of the adoption of the Convention in Geneva in 2011.

“We are recognising that we need to pay particular attention to the vulnerable workers in Barbados… but we want all of Barbados to recognise that they, too, have a part to play and while the union will do its part and the Government … will do its part… We need to look after our brothers and sisters — the gas station workers, the cleaners, the general workers, all those workers whose work is not decent, who have no say, whose pay is sometimes dependent on the whims and fancies of the people whom they work with, who get no breaks.” (LW)

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