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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU vote on domestic workers is ‘historic first step’, says Green MEP

Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has welcomed the European Parliament’s backing for the legal recognition of domestic workers as an “historic first step to giving this long ignored group of workers comprehensive protection.”

Today’s vote supports the adoption of the proposed International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Domestic Workers, which aims to provide legal recognition of domestic work and a legal framework for all domestic workers to ensure that their work is covered by employment regulations.  The Convention will be voted on at the 100th session of the International Labour Conference in June 2011.

International Labour Organisation figures estimate that domestic work, such as childcare, house work and garden maintenance, accounts for 5-9 per cent of all employment.  With their services, these workers, mostly women and many migrant workers, provide a huge contribution to Europe but are all too often deprived of any formal labour rights or social protection.

Speaking after the vote, Jean, a member of the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said: “Today’s vote represents an historic first step to giving this long ignored group of workers comprehensive protection. Despite their valuable contribution to society, domestic workers are given less legal protection than other workers, leaving them susceptible to economic exploitation and abuse.

“All workers deserve a decent wage for the time they work.  The adoption of the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers would make a strong contribution to reducing the number of working poor both in Europe and around the world, and I urge ILO delegates, including those from the UK, to vote in favour of the charter.”

Notes to Editors

1. Founded in 1919, the ILO is the international organisation responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards.  It is the only United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes promoting decent work for all.