C189: A Tool for States or for Paid Domestic Workers? Examples from Ecuador and India

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Sabrina MARCHETTI, European University Institute, Italy
On 16 June 2011, amidst the clapping and singing of dozens of domestic workers gathering in Geneva from all over the world, the ILO has passed the Convention n. 189 concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers. This is a truly historical step for the legal and social protection of this labour sector at the international level. The C189 is the most evident sign of the fact that today paid domestic work is considered a policy issue by several global actors, from both the institutional and the non-governamental side. UN-Women, OIM, GFMD, FRA can be numbered amongst the first, whilst the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) launched in 2009 is in the latter. In the words of ILO representatives, the involvement of IDWF has been fundamental to foster States’ positive involvment on this issue. Since 2011, already 16 States have signed the Convention and they are going to adjust their labour laws accordingly.

However, when one gets closer to the local level, the relationship between social movements, States and international organizations is not that clear cut. The example of Ecuador and India will show two opposite ways in which States and grassroots organizations have reciprocally positioned themselves around this issue. The international campaign for C189 will be seen as a tool that has been differently be taken up by institutional and non-institutional actors to pursue the own political agendas, and their strategies of alliance/separation from other relevant actors. For both country cases, the presentation will be based on material from ethnographic fieldwork (in Quito and New Delhi) and on the analysis of policy documents from different local and international stakeholders. This study is part of a larger project currently in-progress.