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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Government shuns latest global treaty to stamp out slavery

A cleaner sweeping

EURO-MP Jean Lambert has slammed the Government’s refusal to join international efforts to stamp out slavery among domestic workers.

London’s Green MEP has called on David Cameron to ratify the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Convention on Domestic Workers, which came into force this week.

The Convention, which guarantees that anyone employed as a domestic worker receives the same minimum wage, health and safety protection, and workers’ rights as any employee in a more ‘formal’ workplace, will only apply in those nations that have fully signed up to the treaty: eight so far, including Italy – with Germany soon to follow.

But the UK claims it would be impossible to expect wealthy householders to extend basic rights to their nannies, cooks and cleaners.

There are more than 63 million domestic workers worldwide – 10.5 million of them children – many of them poorly paid and effectively imprisoned in their workplace.

Ms Lambert said: “If countries such as Italy and Germany think guaranteeing the rights of workers employed in others’ homes is both desirable and possible, why on earth does our Government think it’s not feasible?

“In fact it’s made the situation worse for enslaved domestic workers, by making it impossible for them to seek better employment conditions in the UK without facing deportation.

“The UK has tried to water this treaty down at every turn – and it must now stop moaning about having to treat domestic workers properly and ratify the Treaty.”