Congress says Ireland should be First to Ratify New Global Treaty on Domestic Workers' Rights

16 Jun 2011

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called on the Government to take a "global lead" on workers rights by becoming the first to ratify a new landmark treaty that gives protection to domestic workers.

Speaking from Geneva following the historic vote at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Congress Legal Affairs Officer Esther Lynch said: "Ireland should take the lead in this matter and be the first to ratify this new ILO Convention, which was supported by a huge majority at the ILO - including the Irish Government, unions and employers."

"We should build on the obvious national consensus on this issue. It would send a very positive signal about Ireland to the wider world.

"Ireland was one of the first countries in the European Union to establish a Code of Practice for Domestic Workers, which Congress negotiated as part of the Towards 2016 national agreement, in 2006. That helped establish rights for an often forgotten and neglected cohort of workers.

"Given that all members of the Irish delegation at the ILO voted in favour of this historic treaty, it would seem entirely reasonable that Government could move with speed to ratification," Ms Lynch said.

The new ILO Convention - which covers an estimated 52 million domestic workers - requires that they would enjoy working conditions that are "not less favourable" than other workers and also extends social security entitlements such as sick pay, to workers in the sector.

It also offers domestic workers a full rest day every week, and prevents employers requiring domestic workers to remain with an employer's household during their annual leave or rest days.

The convention was adopted with 396 votes for and 16 against and 63 abstentions.