KATHMANDU, Mar 4: Various organizations working for the welfare of migrant workers have urged the government to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189 to ensure workers' including housemaids' rights within the country and abroad.
They also urged the government to lift the temporary ban on sending Nepali women to the Gulf countries to work as housemaids and sign bilateral labor agreements with labor receiving countries.
The ILO Convention 189 has been hailed as a 'historic agreement' to ensure the rights and identities of domestic workers as it provides legal protection to migrant domestic workers in foreign labor markets, thereby preventing exploitation and improving their lives.
However, Nepal is yet to ratify the convention although it voted for it at the UN International Law Commission 2011.
Four organizations – Pourakhi Nepal, Migration Forum in Asia, National Network for Safe Migration and International Domestic Workers' Foundation – submitted the suggestion letter to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security on Sunday. The 10-point suggestion letter regarding ILO Convention and identities of domestic labor include effective implementation, monitoring and management of the Labor Act 2074, Labor Regulations 2075 and removal of laws and policies discriminating against women migrant workers.
It also urged the government to ensure gender equality at work, equal opportunities for work and equal wages for both male and female. Likewise, they also suggested the government to loosen its directive which barred Nepali women from undertaking domestic housemaid jobs in foreign countries.
According to the organizations, the government should always ensure an environment for household workers to feel that their human rights and labor rights are upheld and respected. Furthermore, they called for compulsory contracts between employees and employers.
The organizations said ratification of the convention will bring big changes in the lives of domestic workers as it protects them from exploitation and abuse at work. If Nepal ratifies the convention, it would ensure that its labors are provided with the minimum wage, vacations, respect at work and safe work environment which thousands of Nepali migrant workers currently lack.