The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) under the Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) project supported by Plan International Ghana with funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is organizing series of activities aimed at engaging government and other key actors to ensure that the government’s interventions to address COVID-19 impacts are gendered. The project also seeks to support NETRIGHT members and other women groups to continue to reach out to communities especially women during this COVID pandemic.
As part of activities outlined for its COVID project titled ‘Addressing Socio-Economic Impact of COVID on Women and Girls’, NETRIGHT in collaboration with the Domestic Services Workers’ Union (DSWU) organized a meeting for domestic workers to discuss the fallouts of COVID-19 and its implications on their livelihood. The meeting was moderated by Patricia Blankson Akpokpo, programme manager NETRIGHT, Cynthia Sunu NETRIGHT, Ann Apekey Gender and Labour consultant, and Adwoa Sakyi Reginal women’s coordinator (IUF), in attendance were twenty (20) domestic workers from Accra commended the government for the passage of the Labour (Domestic Workers) Regulations, 2020 (L.I.2408). The Regulations recognises domestic workers in their own right as workers as stipulated under the labour laws of the country.
Having discussed the impact of COVID-19 on their work and livelihoods, participants noted the following: CONDITIONS OF SERVICE: The absence of regulation in the wake of the pandemic hugely affected the working conditions of domestic workers resulting in untold hardship and poverty. With the passage of the LI 2408, we are hopeful that this will help regulate domestic work leading to an improvement in our working conditions.
JOB LOSS: Due to the pandemic and the fear of employers to expose their families to the virus, contracts of many domestic workers were terminated resulting in job loss which affected their livelihoods and living conditions. We call on the government to develop a social protection package that will address the peculiar needs of domestic workers such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP). Government should also review the bureaucracy and criteria for accessing loans under the stimulus package for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enable domestic workers who have started small business benefit from it.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Live-in domestic workers continue to face a lot of uncompensated workloads and sometimes violence (assault, harassment, sexual exploitation, physical abuse and denial of their income). We, the Domestic Services Workers’ Union (DSWU) pledge our support to educate our members and also call on government through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) to educate employers and the general public to make sure the new LI 2408 is applied and enforced. They express sincere gratitude to the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) for giving them the platform for a collective and stronger voice to create awareness on their specific issues and demand for redress. We are also grateful to Plan International Ghana and the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for their support.
As we mark the day for decent work globally today, we congratulate all informal economy workers for their hard work and contribution towards the growth of the economy and urge the government to put strategic policies in place to promote decent jobs for all workers. This statement is issued on this 7th Day of October 2020 in Accra at a roundtable discussion for domestic workers at Sunlodge Hotel, Tesano.
At end of the roundtable discussion, Network for women’s rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), distributed PPEs to the participants.
The chairperson Eva Atapa on behalf of domestic services workers union thanked NETRIGHT for their kind gesture.
By: Naa Anyema Collison