CSO calls for better working conditions for domestic workers

The CEE HOPE Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization focused on the rights and welfare of vulnerable children, has called for improved working conditions for domestic workers in Nigeria.

The organization made this appeal on Thursday during a one-day seminar on the rights of domestic workers.

The seminar is part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the abuse of domestic workers and the need to uphold their human and labor rights in accordance with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 189 of 2011.

Its Founder, Betty Abah, condemned the inhumane treatment domestic workers often face from their employers, highlighting cases of suppression and, in extreme instances, death.

Abah urged for concerted efforts to raise awareness about the rights of domestic workers, aiming to end their harrowing experiences and create skill acquisition opportunities to better equip them.

She emphasized the importance of implementing the Child Rights Act and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law to prevent impunity among employers of domestic workers.

“Many have lost their lives or suffered severe injuries while working as domestic care workers. We are spotlighting this issue and advocating for the unionization of domestic workers to ensure they can assert their rights and demand better treatment and pay,” Abah said.

She stressed the need to educate workers about their rights, explaining that awareness could prevent them from being subjected to round-the-clock work for meager wages. She also noted that unionization would improve working conditions and reduce the use of underage workers.

“Many domestic workers have missed educational opportunities and skill development, leaving them with little to look forward to in adulthood,” she added.

Abah criticized the lack of active enforcement of child rights laws and the VAPP Act in Nigeria, calling for better implementation to protect domestic workers. She also urged organized labor to support the campaign and the government to provide the necessary backing.

Regional Representative of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Dr. Claus Dieter Konig, emphasized the importance of government action to ensure young girls attend school instead of working as domestic workers. He pointed out that violence against domestic workers is prevalent and ranges from disrespect to physical abuse.

“Every worker has the right to unionize. Many domestic workers in Nigeria, most of whom are women, have their rights abused. This campaign aims to defend their rights and address their issues,” Konig stated.

He called on the government to establish laws ensuring domestic workers receive a minimum wage and create mechanisms for reporting and addressing violence against them.

Hauwa Mustapha of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) praised the initiative, pledging her support. She also condemned the dehumanizing treatment of domestic workers, noting that many people believe these workers do not deserve dignity.