One voice, unify power, unify actions for workers rights

International Women’s Day commemorated on 8 March by all women around the world is a women movement’s victory in fighting for women rights and equality. Initially, in 1910 an international conference organized by socialists was held in Copenhagen to honour the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women. A year later (1911), first International Women’s Day was celebrated in Denmark, Austria, Germany and Switzerland involving one million women and men in rallies demanding suffrage, women’s rights to work, and an ending to discrimination against on the job.

With theme of “Continuing the Struggle for Realizing Welfare and Gender Equality,” this year celebration in not to solely celebrate the day but also a part of women’s struggle for demanding their yet-to-finish rights. Women in Indonesia, especially woman workers, have still to fight for the upholding law on manpower which is not yet implemented as expected, for demolishing a wage gap among male and female workers, for overcoming sexual harassment and gaining menstruation and maternity leaves which now still far from complying with regulations. Woman workers have to be in frontline to fight for gender equality in workplace.

It has almost been 8 months after SBY address before other leaders concerning the importance of the convention to give a protection and for a reference for Indonesia government to formulize law on domestic workers protection. But, it seems that until today SBY administration still does not show goodwill to immediately ratify ILO C 189 which regulating standards of domestic worker employment.

Why ILO Convention No. 189 important? Recognition to domestic work as a work equal to other works has been in general given by international through the convention on decent work for domestic workers. The convention sets basic standards and fundamental guarantees for protecting and fulfilling rights of domestic workers. “By ratifying ILO C. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers and adopting bill on domestic workers protection the state recognizes domestic work as an employment and guarantees the fulfillment of rights of domestic workers,” said Yatini Sulistyowati, a representative of Woman Committees of Indonesia SEKBER PLKI. Yatini’s statement is a support for a statement aired by National Commission for Woman on Domestic Workers’ Day celebration on 15 February 2012 in which the Commission urged government to ratify a set of regulations guaranteeing a protection to domestic workers either in domestic or abroad which are ILO C. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, 1990 UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, bill on domestic workers protection, and amendment to Law No 39/2004 on Placement and Protection of Indonesia Migrant Workers Oversees.

Union struggle is not only focused on to workers at industry sectors. With the advent of ILO C. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, union has its momentum to fight for domestic workers to have acknowledgement and normative rights as ones industry workers have enjoyed. Domestic work is a vital sector which to a certain extent determining woman destiny in her career-life and, therefore, domestic work cannot be underestimated and needs to be fought out through legislation.

Indonesia, on the voting day, fully supported this convention (2 votes casted for the convention adoption plus 1 worker’s vote for fully adoption of the convention.) even though on the previous proceedings during the 2010 ILO Conference Indonesia government did not give its support for the convention deliberation.

The support is affirmed in SBY address before the 100th ILO Conference at Palais de Nations, Geneva, Switzerland on 14 June 2011. SBY stated that he had supported ILO C. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers and further said that the convention would assist government of Indonesia in formulating national legislations and regulations to protect domestic workers. However, those statements are just words with almost no concrete actions.

International commitment of Indonesia government in protecting its migrant workers who are majority domestic workers, as stated in President of the Republic of Indonesia speech in International Labour Conference, June 2011, should be made concrete by ratifying ILO C. 189. The house’s initiative to draft a bill on domestic workers should be concreted by adopting it to a law in which the law should lean itself onto standards and principles of decent work for domestic workers covered in ILO C. 189.

Therefore, SEKBER PLKI fully support the ratification of ILO Convention No. 189.

Further information of this statement, please contact Ms. Yatini Sulistyowati or Ms. Indah Budiarti di:

KSPI, one of SEKBER PLKI member, will conduct rally and gathering start at the Bunderan HI on 8 March 2012 by 09.00 WIB. in this year celebration, KSPI call for stop all kind discrimination against women and protection for domestic workers. For detail, please contact Ms. Marmin Hartono, Youth Committee Chair:


Comments on: "2012 International Women’s Day: Continuing a Struggle for Realizing Welfare and Gender Equality" (1)

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