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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

MWG Press Statement

Malaysia: Vote in Favour of the Proposed Convention supplemented by a Recommendation concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference, Geneva, June 2011
June 2011
The Migration Working Group calls for the Malaysian government to vote in favour of the proposed Convention supplemented by a Recommendation concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference held in Geneva in June 2011. This international instrument would strengthen the protection of the rights of domestic workers, including migrant domestic workers, who provide essential services to households and economies around the world.
There are around 300,000 documented migrant domestic workers in Malaysia today, providing valuable services, care and support to thousands of Malaysian families. There are also thousands of temporary local domestic workers and undocumented migrant domestic workers who remain unprotected and yet are of great importance to Malaysian households. Domestic workers are not provided with adequate protection of their labour and human rights. There have been numerous cases of domestic workers suffering from unpaid wages, poor living and working conditions, and violence at the hands of their employers. While domestic workers are recognised under the Employment Act 1955 (Act 265) as ‘domestic servants’, they are not given equal protection of their rights as other employees. These include their rights related to the termination of contracts, maternity benefits, rest days, hours of work and holidays, as well as benefits related to termination, layoff and retirement.
We have been disappointed at Malaysia’s response to the proposed Convention and supplementary Recommendation concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers so far. At the 99th Session of the International Labour Conference, in Geneva in 2010, the Malaysian government was amongst the minority of voters and governments who would only support a Recommendation and not a Convention. We have been particularly disappointed by Malaysia’s response to the proposed Convention as reported in ILO’s Report IV(2A) Decent Work for Domestic Workers, in which the Malaysian government observed that “Domestic work is not seen as ordinary employment” (p. 6) and that in relation to the proposed Article 10(3) concerning hours of work, “Domestic workers cannot be equated to other workers in general.” (p. 40).
We call upon the Malaysian government to:

v  Vote in favour of the proposed Convention supplemented by a Recommendation concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference; and furthermore, to
v  Amend the Employment Act 1955, giving all domestic workers rights equal to other employees;
v  Ensure that all domestic workers have one paid day-off per week and are protected by a fair and standard employment contract that protects their labour and human rights;
v  Promote and protect the rights of domestic workers to freedom of association, the right to organise and to form and join trade unions by amending laws, policies and practices as necessary;
v  Ensure that domestic workers have access to justice when they face violations of their rights;
v  Establish multilateral or bilateral agreements with other countries to strengthen the promotion and protection of the rights of all migrant domestic workers.

For more information, please contact Daniel Lo, Co-Coordinator of the Migration Working Group at 012 218 6051 (mobile) or (email)

Endorsed by the following members of the Migration Working Group:
1.    Archdiocesan Human Development Commission (AHDC), Kota Kinabalu
2.    Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) Asia Pacific
3.    Coalition to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA)
4.    Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM Asia)
5.    Council of Churches, Malaysia
6.    Foreign Spouse Support Group (FSSG)
7.    Justice, Peace & Solidarity In Mission Office, Congregation of the Good Shepherd Sisters, Province of Singapore-Malaysia
8.    Health Equity Initiatives (HEI)
9.    Lawyers for Liberty (LFL)
10.     Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI)
11.     Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)
12.     Penang Office for Human Development (POHD)
13.     Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (PKGS)
14.     Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
15.     Tenaganita
16.     The National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
17.     Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

About the Migration Working Group:
The Migration Working Group (MWG) is a network of Malaysian civil society groups and individuals who advocate for the rights of migrants, refugees, stateless persons, trafficked persons and foreign spouses.

MWG c/o Women’s Aid Organisation
P.O. Box 493 Jalan Sultan
46760 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan

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