Mother, Domestic Helper, Worker

1 May

We dedicate this day to all mothers and workers in Spain as today we celebrate here both Mother’s Day and Labor Day.

Workers but not regarded as one? Many Filipinas, some of whom are mothers, work in Spain as domestic helpers. Domestic workers in Spain are considered as family members but not as workers. Given this ‘special’ regulation, they are not entitled to the same benefits normal workers receive.

In relation to this, a very important European Parliament Resolution introduced by Pervenche Beres, French MEP and Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Action has been already presented and due for voting on May 9, 2011.

The Resolution says: “…domestic workers may be exposed to multiple discrimination since they often work in poor, irregular conditions; whereas many of these workers are undocumented migrants they are more likely to be mistreated, confronted with irregular payments or subjected to violence or sexual abuse….whereas the aim of the Convention is to provide legal recognition of domestic work as work, extend rights to all domestic workers and to prevent violations and abuses so as to provide a legal framework to all domestic workers and to ensure their work does not take place outside a regulatory framework”.

To respond to this resolution and address many migrants’ concerns, a conference was held from April 24-26 in Barcelona among the members of RESPECT Network (Rights, Equality, Solidarity, Power, European Cooperation Today) and Platform of Filipino Migrants in Europe. The conference was hosted by Fr. Avelino Sapida and the Personal Parish for Filipinos, Centro Filipino and Amistad.

A highlight of this meeting was the Dialogue with the representatives of the Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) Trade Union, Mr. Ricardo Ballera, responsible for International Relations and Mr. Ghassan Saliba, Director of Center of Information for Foreign Workers (CITE).

This Dialogue, moreover, was in the context of the June International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva which aims for the approval of an ILO Convention on Domestic Work.

The CCOO representatives pledged their support for a Convention that will strengthen the protection of the rights of migrants as well as CCOO’s continuing active engagement and solidarity with all migrant workers.

Margaret Healy, of KALAYAAN the UK member organization of RESPECT, called on the Trade Union to urge Spanish MEPs to support the EP Resolution endorsed by Beres.

Representatives from RESPECT and Platform of Migrant Organisations in Europe were also received in the City Hall on April 25th by the Vice Mayor for Presidency and International Relations of the City of Barcelona, Mr. Ignasi Cardelús Fontdevilla. The joint delegation was introduced by Nonoi Hacbang, Director of the Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW) who presented a specific proposal to the City Government for ratification of the UN Convention for the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

For more information, you may download the following: Platform Communique Barcelona April 28 2011, RESPECT Communique Barcelona April 28, 2011

Platform of Filipino Migrants in Europe and RESPECT Network (Rights, Equality, Solidarity, Power, European Cooperation Today) during their meeting in Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Pinay Von Alemanya

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