Thursday 23 May, 2019

GraceKennedy lauds Holness for ratifying Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention

Jamaican conglomerate GraceKennedy has applauded Prime Minister Andrew Holness for signing the instrument of ratification for ILO Convention C 189 during the recently-held 71st session of the United Nation’s (UN) General Assembly.

It was at the GraceKennedy Heather Little-White Household Workers Awards Luncheon held on June 30 at Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew, that Shirley Pryce, President of the Jamaica Household Workers’ Union, urged the signing of the Convention ((also known as the Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention)  as one of his priorities.

In response, Prime Minister Holness said he would fast-track the ratification.

GraceKennedy Group boss Don Wehby is pleased that three months after this request was made, the dream of thousands of household workers, spearheaded by Pryce, is now a reality.

“GraceKennedy instituted the Household Worker Awards three years ago, to affirm the value of the work done by this group of Jamaicans. In many ways they hold families together and create room for women and men to pursue other productive activities outside of the home. Ms Pryce has served as a judge and was honoured by the panel this year for her advocacy of ILO Convention C 189,” Wehby observed.

Prime Minister Holness announced Jamaica’s ratification of the Convention while participating in the deliberations on a report by the United Nations High Level Panel on Economic Empowerment of Women at UN Headquarters in New York on September 22.

He said, “We are committed to the protection of rights of the most vulnerable among us and to ensure the welfare of domestic workers within the framework of our determination to promote a decent work for all.”

Shirley Pryce was also present at the UN for the occasion.

Recognising the staunch advocate for women’s empowerment and the rights of domestic workers in Jamaica, Prime Minister Holness stated that, “I’m pleased to announce that Jamaica has signed by virtue of her (Ms Pryce) instrumentality; I have signed and we are ratifying the ILO Domestic Workers Convention C 189.”

He added that the instrument is now in the process of being deposited at the International Labour Office through Jamaica’s Embassy in Geneva.

In a recent interview Pryce said, “The Jamaica Household Workers Union wants to take this opportunity to thank the most Honourable Prime Minister for fulfilling his promise to ratify C189. We are so grateful. We also want to thank The Honourable Portia Simpson Miller for the enormous work she did with us over the years.  We had been struggling for the recognition of the rights of domestic workers for too long, 25 years. The time is just right.”

She continued, “Ratifying of Convention 189 is the start of the change, as this will ensure the provision of the same basic labour rights to domestic workers as well as others. This is an incredible achievement for me personally, as I was a part of a team that was very instrumental in getting the Convention adopted at the International Labour Conference in Geneva in 2011. At one point, I never thought I would see this happen in my lifetime. Now for effective mechanisms of amendment and enforcement of labour legislation as Convention 189. We need to make it a reality as soon as possible.”

This Convention is aimed at guaranteeing fundamental labour rights to an estimated 53 million domestic workers worldwide. It was adopted during the 100th session of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2011, and was entered into force in September 2013.



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