Uruguay ratifies Convention 189
New victory for domestic workers
Wednesday, April 25, Uruguay became the first Latin American country
to ratify ILO Convention 189 concerning decent work for domestic
workers. Sirel spoke
with Graciela Espinosa, of the Sole Union of Domestic Workers (SUTD),
who commented on the scope of the convention ratified and its
importance for the sector.
In only a
few years, many favorable changes have occurred in the situation of
domestic workers in Uruguay. These changes began in 2006-2007
with the approval of Law No. 18,065, which regulates domestic work
in the country, followed in 2008 by the incorporation of domestic
workers into the Wage Councils.
first time in history, this sector was able to collectively
negotiate working conditions, succeeding in signing their first
collective bargaining agreement on August 19 of that year. That day
has since been declared a full paid holiday for all domestic workers
In 2008, our sector was able
to collectively negotiate
succeeding in signing the
first collective bargaining
agreement on August 19 of
that year. That day has
since been declared a full
paid holiday for all
domestic workers in Uruguay.
25, Parliament ratified ILO Convention 189 concerning decent work
for domestic workers, adopted at the 100th Session of the
This instrument establishes, for the first time in history,
international labor standards aimed at improving the working
conditions of millions of domestic workers worldwide.
the new rights recognized under Convention 189 are the establishment
of normal work hours, a mandatory weekly rest of at least 24
consecutive hours, a limit on the proportion of remuneration paid in
kind, and the obligation of employers to clearly inform workers of
the terms and conditions of their employment. It also calls for
ratifying countries to respect, promote, and realize the fundamental
principles and rights at work in this sector, including freedom of
association and the right to collective bargaining.
member of SUTD, who participated in representation of
Uruguay in the 100th Session of the ILO in
2011, told SIREL that the ratification process went very
smoothly and was approved unanimously.
on the role of the union during this instance, the union leader
said: “We have been there every step of the way, from the moment the
proposal for ratification was entered into Parliament in December
2011, monitoring the process right up to the plenary discussion and
subsequent approval, during which we were present in the session
the possibility of regulating domestic work had been discussed since 1985, it
was not until the first Frente Amplio administration, in 2006-2007, that it was
made into law (Law No. 18,065).”
respect to the progress in the sector, Espinosa said that all
the gains obtained for the sector had been achieved after the
Frente Amplio coalition came into power, as it enabled positive
changes in terms of legislation and labor guarantees.
possibility of regulating domestic work had been discussed since
1985, it was not until the first Frente Amplio
administration, in 2006-2007, that it was made into law (Law No.
18,065),” she said.
union leader, the ratification of Convention 189 gives domestic
workers international guarantees in the event that, for any reason,
the Law is amended in a way that harms workers.
“We need to
continue working to have this Convention ratified in every country
of the Americas and for national governments to adhere to
international labor laws.
180 countries participated in the 100th Session of the
ILO and supported the adoption of this Convention. Now we have
to mobilize to make it known and implement it,” the leader