Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 23rd 2015 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 23, 2015
More than 30 years after its establishment
by diminutive poultry production line worker,
the late Clotill Walcott, the National Union of
Domestic Employees (Nude) is contending that
the sector it represents continues to confront
as many challenges as the hurdles it has been
able to clear.
For example, Nude recently launched an inter-
national petition to draw attention to the fact
that four years after international adoption of
the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Inter-
national Domestic Workers Convention (189)
and the June launch of a Domestic Workers Reg-
ister in T&T, comprehensive legislative protection
of workers in the sector continues to be elusive.
"We have been fighting and trying to work
with Government along the way," Nude general
secretary Ida Le Blanc said.
"But up to now we don t have a law and proper
arrangements for domestic workers to enjoy the
CSME (Caricom Single Market and Economy)."
She pointed to the fact that a growing number
of complaints reaching her office chronicle the
abuse of domestic workers from countries such
as Jamaica and Guyana. Jamaica has moved
aggressively with the certification of domestic
Caricom leaders had actually agreed back in
2006 to the addition of artisans and domestic
workers to select categories of Caribbean workers
to benefit from the right to live and work in the
region without a work permit through the use
of skilled nationals certification.
A campaign to promote public awareness of
the move and to push countries in the direction
of establishing a certification regime to enable
the provision was launched two years ago.
Only weeks ago, the Caribbean Policy Devel-
opment Centre (CPDC) teamed up with Nude
to promote the programme in T&T.
However, though both the Minimum Wages
(Household Assistant) Order and Maternity Pro-
tection Act include protection for domestic work-
ers, the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) does not
include such a category.
Labour Minister Errol Mc Leod said in his
Labour Day message last year that campaigners
for T&T to ratify the ILO Convention were
"knocking on an open door."
A subsequent attempt to amend the IRA,
meant to pave the way for eventual ratification,
was however stopped in its tracks by Nude which
contended that while the amendment recognised
"domestic workers," its definition of "employer"
meant that those who had fewer than three work-
ers in this category would not be subject to the
collective bargaining process as called for in the
A slow-moving international online petition
has been launched by Nude with such an agenda
Located at avaaz.org, a popular online campaign
site, the petition calls on the Government to
"ensure that domestic workers are brought...in
line as all other workers."
It claims domestic workers
have been suffering the effects
of discrimination, "inequity
before the law" and "a num-
ber of injustices."
The petition calls for the
protection of domestic workers
under the National Insurance
Scheme and the Occupational
Health and Safety Act.
Le Blanc admitted that consid-
erable progress has been made since
the launch of the union. She recalled
the long campaign for recognition by
the trade union movement and pointed
to the fact that two Nude officers were now
on the executive of the National Trade Union
Le Blanc believes there is much more work
to be done before such an objective is
achieved. She said whoever takes office on
September 8 will find her organisation, on
behalf of its 600 registered members and thou-
sands of domestic workers, at their doorstep.
For now, the organisation is aiming at 250
endorsements for its online campaign.
Crafting a better deal for domestic workers
Ida Le Blanc is fighting for a law and
proper arrangements for domestic
workers to enjoy the CSME.
Caricom leaders had actually agreed back in 2006 to the addition of artisans and domestic workers to select categories of Caribbean workers to benefit from the right to
live and work in the region without a work permit through the use of skilled nationals certification.
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