16 Million Domestic Workers are Vulnerable to Violence, Discrimination and Exploitation
YOGYAKARTA – There are about 100 million Domestic Workers around the world who are mostly women and children. Of this number, 16 million are from Indonesia, consisting of 10 million domestic workers in Indonesia and about 6 million migrant workers. They remain vulnerable to violence, discrimination and exploitation on the job. This is due to the unavailabilty of legal protection for domestic workers, either in national or local level.
This emerged in a seminar and workshop Socialization of Decent Work for Domestic Workers organized by Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration and Center for Social Protection and Decent Work Studies (SECURE) of UGM. Presenting as resource persons were the Secretary of Industrial Relations of Directorate General for Development and Social Assurance, Iskandar Maula, S.H, M.M, Domestic Workers Researcher from Department of Social Development and Welfare (PsdK), UGM, Milda Longgeita, S. Sos, MA, and Domestic Workers Network Coordinator, Sri Murtini.
Milda Longgeita said that decent work for domestic workers issue can only be raised when the domestic sphere is brought into the public domain, because communicative rationality only works effectively in the public domain. If workers are still in domestic working area, they will have high character of privacy, which cannot be intervened by external parties, being closed and exclusive. As a result, domestic workers are subjected to violence, exploitation and even death. "The cases often experienced by domestic workers are psychological and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse due to poor work performance caused by lack of education and no self-improvement, trafficking, debts to their employers, or (children) exploitation," she said.
Therefore, it was agreed that decent work for domestic workers should be in the public sphere, made through a process involving various stakeholders through domestic workers, employers, governments, and non-governmental organizations. "Domestic workers should get their rights in the workplace, have social dialogue, social and working security and convenience," he said.
Iskandar Maula said in terms of domestic workers context, study and review are needed of the application of fundamental principles and rights at work, namely freedom of association and recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced labor, elimination of children labor and elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.
"The study is needed to see how far the "gap" that exists between workers in firms/industries and workers in the household. For everyone’s concern, every year on the forum of the International Labour Conference (ILC), various cases of violation done by members to the Convention are evaluated," he said.
He added that education and training for workers aged 15-18 years is necessary to increase their competence and knowledge. According to Iskandar, through such training, their position will become a profession, bearing in mind that one of the professional norms is job competence. "It needs further review to manage the training and certification system," he said.
Meanwhile, Sri Murtini said that more intensive socialization among domestic workers about the importance of joining organization to strengthen their position as a worker is important to do. Another important thing is the effort to build a mutually beneficial working condition both for domestic workers and service users. "We always hold organizational activities with all the obstacles we face, being posed both by employers who still underestimate and distrust our organization, and the domestic workers themselves who cannot see the benefit of joining the organization," she said.