IDWF-GFBTU ink MoU to protect Bahrain’s domestic workers

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:05, Jun 16,2019


The International Domestic Workers Federation on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions to protect domestic workers in Bahrain.

IDWF president Myrtle Witbooi and GFBTU deputy general secretary A. Qader A. Karim Al Shehabi inked the MoU at the ILO office in Geneva, IDWF’s regional coordinator for Asia Fish Ip told New Age.

The MoU was signed on the eve of the  International Domestic Workers Day to be celebrated across the world today to  commemorate adoption of the ILO  Convention 189 that makes it obligatory to ensure decent work for domestic workers.

Bangladesh is yet to ratify the ILO convention 189.

According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, Bahrain recruited over 4,200 women domestic workers from Bangladesh.

According to an IDWF press release sent from Geneva, the GFBTU -IDWF MoU would empower Bahrain’s domestic workers.

There are around one lakh domestic workers in Bahrain for a population of 14.50 lakh.

One fourth of Migrant Domestic Workers are from India, followed by Filipinos, Ethiopians,  Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Kenya.

In 2017, reforms were introduced in Bahrain following the approval by the Labor Market Regulatory Authority in Bahrain of a dual/tripartite unified standard contract for domestic workers that must be signed between the recruitment agency, worker and employer, and a second one between the worker and the employer, the press release said.

‘The unified contract is a step forward to  ensure the protection of MDWs in Bahrain; however, it needs further reform to outline working hours, minimum wage and rest time, in additional to an enforcement mechanism

due to the inspectors’ lack of authority to enter private homes.’

Shehabi at the MoU signing event  said that ‘We need IDWF and domestic workers’ leaders to reach out to workers and provide training for domestic workers so that they know their rights.’

Witbooi said that IDWF has to ensure all domestic workers were protected in whatever country they work.

‘This is a great occasion and we hope it will be the start of many agreements between us and countries,’ she said.

The MoU is for two years and can be extended and it will bring the two organizations to implement joint activities together.  

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