Sunday, March 16, 2014

MALAYSIA:::MTUC Launch Action Programme to assist Migrant Domestic Workers

Domestic workers' working conditions range far below the minimum standards of the formal sector. They rarely have a work contract with their employer, their salaries are below the minimum salary in the formal sector, and their working conditions entail long working hours and a very small number get a day off. They live in social isolation because of their long working hours and live-in arrangement with the employer, which means that the employer can exercise full control over their lives. As a result of this control and isolation, domestic workers are frequently exposed to mental and physical abuse from their employers and the employer's family.

Domestic work is generally an unappreciated sector, labelled "unskilled" and not recognised as work, rather perceived as "women's household task. As such domestic work is excluded from labour legislation, social protection,minimum salary provisions, maximum working hours and holidays provisions etc. The vast majority domestic workers are not organised or represented by any trade union, which generally focus on the formal sector workers. Domestic workers are the single biggest enumerated female labour force in South East Asia. Nevertheless, they continue to suffer poor working conditions and salaries and are deprived of labour and social protection.

MTUC with the support of FNV has launched a special project to organise the domestic workers. MTUC has set up a Special Committee to assist domestic workers, strengthen advocacy, publicise their issues, and make representation with authorities to draw up safeguards and working conditions, coordination with civil society, other organisations and embassies. MTUC, together with other stakeholders will jointly promote adequate legislative, minimum standards for the protection of domestic workers, a standard contract, strengthening of regulation on recruitment agencies and provision of adequate information and safeguards.
This project will cover the Klang Valley and Penang. MTUC plans to assist domestic workers to establish an association so that they can help themselves and the association will be the voice of the migrant workers.

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