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Domestic workers call on authorities to rid their sector of exploitation, abuse

Domestic workers march to the Department of Employment and Labour. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Domestic workers march to the Department of Employment and Labour. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 17, 2022


Pretoria - Domestic workers yesterday called on the Department of Employment and Labour to rid their sector of exploitation and abuse.

Instead of enjoying the public holiday, a handful of domestic workers marched to the department’s offices in Pretoria. Yesterday was International Domestic Workers’ Day.

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Pinky Mashiane, the president of United Domestic Workers of South Africa, said they had opted to march to the department’s offices yesterday as a lot of things were happening in the sector unabated.

Despite this being the ninth year since the government had signed the UN International Labour Organisation Convention 189, which it ratified in 2013, domestic workers were still being exploited and worked under appalling conditions, she said.

Although the government had committed much on paper, there existed no labour inspectors visible within the sector, and workers battled to find anyone to help them deal with non-compliant and abusive employers.

“Domestic workers are still exploited and suffering daily in most provinces and they complain of the services they get and the regular abuse and insults from labour officials.”

Mashiane said although domestic workers had been included to benefit from the UIF as of 2003, many of them were not registered.

She said they had called on the department to grant employers amnesty in order to promote compliance so that domestic workers could be registered, but their pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

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In addition, workers called for the amendment of Section 41 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act severance package to ensure that workers were given. at the very least, one month’s salary instead of a week’s pay.

There were no officials at the department’s offices to accept the workers’ memorandum.

However, workers said this was the only time they could gather to make their pleas heard.

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Pretoria News