Malta has ratified the Domestic Workers Convention of the International Labour Organisation (C189). The convention was approved by the Cabinet and the instruments of ratification were signed by Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo. It was presented by Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela during a meeting with the Director General of the ILO Guy Ryder, during a meeting held at the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland.
It recognises the significant contribution of domestic workers to the global economy, which includes increasing paid job opportunities for female and male workers with family responsibilities, greater scope for caring for ageing populations, children and persons with a disability, and substantial income transfers within and between countries.
The convention considers that domestic work continues to be undervalued and invisible and is mainly carried out by women and girls, many of whom are migrants or members of disadvantaged communities and who are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in respect of conditions of employment and of work, and to other abuses of human rights.
It recalls that international labour conventions and recommendations apply to all workers, including domestic workers, unless otherwise provided. It also recognises the special conditions under which domestic work is carried to supplement the general standards with standards specific to domestic workers so as to enable them to enjoy their rights fully.
The principles laid in C189 are already enshrined in Maltese law by the Employment and Industrial Relations Act and subsidiary legislation.
Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela stated that the convention is a tangible commitment to improving workers’ rights and conditions of work.
“By enshrining principles such as collective bargaining, the abolition of child labour and compulsory labour and eliminating discrimination in employment is testament to the government’s efforts in not only making work pay but also reducing inequalities and improving the quality of life,” emphasised Minister Abela.
During his meeting with Mr Ryder, Minister Abela explained the measures taken by the Maltese government during the pandemic to safeguard jobs through schemes, to enterprises to enable them to retain workers and to return to normality as quickly as possible.
He reiterated that Malta will continues to strive to improve workers’ conditions of work as well as creating more job opportunities and jobs of quality, whilst increasing Malta’s relationship with the International Labour Organisation.
Minister Abela was accompanied by Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Christopher Grima.