KUDHEIHA urges Government to effect ILO convention
SEE ALSO :KNH and unionists sign pay rise dealAwiti narrated her ordeal in the hands of her former employer. “I would wake up as early as 4:00 A.M and go to bed at midnight, and this was the routine for seven days a week for a salary of Sh 5,000 a month. I was treated like an animal in my own country, I had to lie that I have lost a relative so that I can get some off days and despite all my good work, she decided to throw out of their house in the middle of the night without pay.” She is among the domestic workers who are subjected to silent suffering. ILO reveals that more than half of domestic workers are women, signifying its potential in bridging the gender gap in employment. Despite their significance, domestic workers are positioned in a sector with low implementation capacity, lack of interest in the long-term sustainability of programmes and little coordination across government agencies and partners. Besides not being legally recognised as an occupation, it suffers discriminatory social and legal practices as well as other socio-cultural elements, which brings a low social value for it. Kenya currently has 2 million domestic workers as per ILO report of 2011. Over 200,000 of this number are under-age children who are recruited by relatives to work for them. “It’s very sad to see how relatives would recruit children especially from rural areas and pretend that they are going to help them but they end up mistreating them. Some have been turned into sex pets by those who are supposed to care for them,” said Colonel Oundah, the Deputy Secretary General of KUDHEIHA. Last year Kenyan government proposed a minimum wage of Sh13,000 for workers but little has been done owing to lack of implementation strategy. Awiti explained the hidden details barring the implementation of government directive. “Most of us are paid between Sh4,000-7,000, this is way below what the government proposed. We cannot even negotiate for our salary with our employers since we don’t have a written agreement.” “We get employed through verbal agreement and whether you feel oppressed or not you don’t have a say at all. Most of us are also afraid to talk about salary with our employers since you can be dismissed anytime without pay,” she said. Globally, the Convention 189 has been ratified by 25 countries with 30 more having adopted reforms to extend protection to the workers and several others concluding collective bargaining agreements covering them. In Africa, they are Madagascar South Africa, Guinea and Mauritius.
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