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Call for ratification of ILO Convention 189 to establish the rights of domestic workers at home and abroad

Speakers called for ratification of ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers to establish their rights and dignity at home and abroad. Speakers call this at the roundtable  titled “Recommendations and future action for the ratification of ILO Convention-169 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers”  was held on  June 29, 2021 at the BILS Seminar Hall at the initiative of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies-BILS in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Speaking on the occasion Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Labour and Employment Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan, MP, said that the number of women workers in the labour market is increasing day by day. Many of them are working as domestic workers. It is not enough to sign only policies or ILO conventions for them, but they have also to be brought under the labour law. This is possible only if all parties are sincere. Considering the amount of remittances sent by expatriate women workers what we are doing for them, she asked. She emphasized on formulating a policy for sending and receiving workers.

Sramik Nirapotta Forum-SNF Convenor Dr. Hameeda Hossain said, there should be a specific process for domestic workers so that they can file complaints if they are victims of torture. She emphasised the need for greater publicity to ratifying ILO Convention 189.

Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Sheikh Mohammad Refat Ali said, the need to establish the rights of domestic workers is equally important as ratifying the ILO Convention. He also highlighted various initiatives of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment to establish the rights of domestic workers.

In his welcome speech, BILS Secretary General and Executive Director Nazrul Islam Khan said that millions of domestic workers have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic situation. They do not have employment letters, no fixed working hours, no fixed wages, so they do not get any benefits like the formal sector workers. Considering these, he opined that it is necessary to ratify the ILO Convention-189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

Socialist Workers Front President Razekuzzaman Ratan said that if the work of domestic workers is not recognized, the work of women will not be recognized as well. Recognition of their work will create social values, and this convention needs to be ratified to create those social values. He called for the formation of a training institute for the training of domestic workers.

Speaking on the occasion, BILS Chairman Md. Habibur Rahman Shiraz said, Bangladesh presides over the conference where ILO Convention-189 is adopted. Since Bangladesh has voted in favor of this Convention, it is necessary to sign it.

BILS Executive Council Member Shakil Akhter Chowdhury acted as a moderator, while Jatiya Sramik League Acting President Noor Kutub Alam Mannan, Jatiya Sramik Federation President Quamrul Ahsan, NCCWE Member Secretary Naimul Ahsan Jewel, Domestic Workers Rights Network Acting Coordinator Abul Hossin, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) Senior Statistical Officer Md. Masud Rana, ILO Child Labour Regional Project National Project Coordinator Syeda Munira Sultana, BILS Director Nazma Yesmin were also spoke at the roundtable.