They said although Ghana is a member of the ILO, it had not ratified the Convention, which safeguards the rights of domestic workers.
Madam Esther Kosi, General Secretary of DSWU, speaking at the commemoration of the first anniversary of the Union in Accra, urged government to expedite action on the passage of the Regulations to the Labour Act 651.
She said the Labour Act 651, which regulated labour issues in the country, has been found to have some gaps and weaknesses in addressing the issue of domestic workers, such as the exclusion of people who worked in the domestic environment for their relatives from the definition of domestic workers.
The Regulations to the Act was, therefore, to address the area of domestic work and to streamline the sector in line with the general labour laws.
Madam Kosi said streamlining the sector would enable it contribute more to the economic growth of the country.
The DSWU was established in September 2015 and currently has a membership of over 700 domestic workers.
Madam Kosi urged members of the Union to ensure professionalism in the discharge of their work.
The ILO’s C 189, Convention on Domestic Workers 2011, adopted at the 100th ILO Session, defines domestic work as any work performed in or for a household or households and a domestic worker as any person engaged in domestic within an employment relationship.
It enjoins member countries who ratify the Convention among others, promote the human rights of all domestic workers set out in the convention, as well as the fundamental principles and rights at work including freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, abolition of child labour and elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Madam Adwoa Sakyi, Africa Regional Women Coordinator of the International Union of Food Workers, said while the Convention acknowledged the importance of domestic work to the world of work and its contribution to the larger economy, it also recognised that there were many abuses and violence in the sector owing to its ‘invisibility’ and thus enjoins members to ensure the protection of domestic workers.
She said because the implementation of the Convention was to be in line with national laws, the draft regulations when passed and implemented would help address labour issues.
Mr. Eugene Korlettey, Chief Labour Officer at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, who represented the minister, said government was committed to the ratification of the ILO C189.
He said the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and Employment and Labour Relations, were working hard towards the ratification of the Convention, and were also putting together a framework to domestic the Convention for implementation.
Mr. Korlettey said the draft regulations to Act 651 was currently at the Attorney General’s Office and was expected to be laid in and passed by Parliament before its dissolution and stressed the need for more sensitisation and awareness creation of the Convention and Regulations among domestic workers and employers.
Togbui Adom Drayi II, Head of the Organisation and Industrial Relations Department of the TUC, commended the leadership of the DSWU for organising domestic workers into a union and being able to grow its membership in their first year.
He said many of the challenges which domestic workers face will be addressed with the effective implementation of the appropriate laws.