'Discrimination Against Domestic Workers Must Stop'

Ms Adowa Sakyi of the International Union of Food and Agriculture (IUF) has called on the public to recognise the importance of domestic workers and the need to remunerate them as formal workers.

She also raised concern about the treatment meted out to domestic workers by their employers.

“Households should recognise that people working in your homes are workers and should be treated as such; their salaries should be paid through accounts so as to put a stop to the small monies given to them,” she said.

Ms Sakyi gave the advice at a programme held in Accra to celebrate the 2015 Domestic Workers Day, which is marked on June 16 worldwide.

The programme was on the theme: “Please Help Recognise Domestic Services Workers and Ratify ILO Convention 189”.

The theme was to draw the attention of the government to enforce the law, which would help domestic workers to be recognised and respected.

IUF in collaboration with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Domestic Services Workers Union (DSWU) alerted participants of the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Convention 189, which aims at protecting the rights of domestic workers.

The ILO annual Conference in 2011 adopted this historic set of international standards, aimed at improving the working conditions of tens of millions of domestic workers worldwide.

The programme was also used to educate the public on laws and unions of domestic workers.

Ms Sakyi said the Registrar General’s Department had given the assurance to domestic workers to form unions to help safeguard the rights.

“Very soon domestic workers would have their union and they would stand on their own and demand for their respect and dignity,” she added.

She noted that before the year ended there would be a conference for domestic workers, which would be supported by the IUF.

Mr Richard Acheampong, a researcher at the TUC, advised domestic workers to open bank accounts to enable their employers channel their salaries through them, and also register with the SSNIT so as to have a sound foundation of support when they go pension.

He told them how important their work was and advised them to take pride in it.

According to Mr Acheampong, there were about twelve million domestic workers in Ghana, with some two million of them, working in offices while 10 million worked in households.

Ms Esther Kosi, the Acting General Secretary of DSWU, said the union was committed to actively raising the quality of life of its members and urged her comrades, regardless of race, political affiliation or creed to achieve a worthy lifestyle.

“We are against people being looked down on or seen as second class human beings or servants for that matter, our task is to make it possible to mobilise and unionise,” she added.

She urged the Government to make their dream a reality in Ghana because Kenya, Benin and some other African countries had ratified the ILO Convention 189.