Confederation Demands Gov’t Ratify Domestic Labor Convention | The Reporter

The Confederation of Ethiopian Labor Unions (CELU) has requested that legislators ratify a decade-old International Labor Organization (ILO) convention on the rights and working conditions of domestic workers.

The request came during discussions on the issue on December 8, with representatives of Christian Humanitarian Organization, officials from the Ministry of Labor and Skills, members of the Andenet Domestic Workers Union and representatives of other organizations and stakeholders.

Article 189 of the ILO convention from 2011 enshrines the rights of domestic workers and entitles them to benefits afforded to other workers, such as a weekly day off, a regular, scheduled workweek, and social security.

Gezahegn Zerihun, advisor to the Confederation’s president, has told The Reporter that CELU is following up on the progress of government policies on domestic workers’ rights.

He observes that although there are clauses in the labor proclamation that protect domestic workers’ rights, essential directives need to be drafted to ease the issues and abuse facing workers. He says not enough is being done to allow domestic workers’ unions to work in collaboration with other labor unions.

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“The clause included in the labor proclamation is not being implemented. We have requested the Labor Ministry to change this and protect the rights of the domestic workers as they should be protected,” he said.

Legal experts from Addis Ababa University, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, and other institutions have previously called for the federal government to formally ratify and implement the terms of the ILO convention.

However, these discussions have failed to bear any substantial fruit.

Gezahegn believes ratifying the convention would create opportunities to draft other labor-related legislation.

“Pushing the government into drafting a specific law based on the working labor proclamation is necessary to prevent the abuse of workers’ rights, who are abused because they do not have protection under the law,” he said.

Negusu Tilahun, a state minister of Labor, stated his office has signed bilateral agreements with several countries where Ethiopian domestic workers travel for work.

The provisions of these agreements include the protection of the workers’ rights and the fairness of their pay, according to Negusu.

The State Minister says efforts to guarantee the protection of these workers’ rights within the country should match the measures taken to protect the rights of workers abroad, admitting the provision in the labor proclamation is not enforced.

“It was not realized because it was under the purview of another institution. The Ministry is now working to make it happen,” he said.

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