By Gifty Arthur
has been called upon to design a stimulus package for members of the Domestic
Services Workers Union (DSWU) as the novel coronavirus continue to bite hard,
it members dotted across the country, have indicated.
In a statement copied to The Herald, DSWU, said it
members who are scattered mainly in Accra, Takoradi, Cape Coast and Koforidua,
continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic because of the nature of their work,
saying their members stand a greater risk of contracting the virus.
chairperson, Eva Attakpah, said members have greatly been affected because
according to them, their members are unable to offer the services they provide
to homes due to the restrictions attached to the virus coupled with the safety
protocols issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and government.
which was also worried about the exploitation of Domestic Workers pleaded that
government in the meantime grants them some stimulus package as well as an
emergency legislation that will stop the exploitation of members at their work
group said “Put in place a stimulus
package for domestic workers and issue an emergency legislation that stops the
exploitation of DWs while we work towards the ratification and adoption of ILO
Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers”.
Below is the full
Domestic Services Workers’ Union has about 1,000 members in Accra, Takoradi,
Cape Coast and Koforidua. The Union has had several discussions with its
members to access the impact of COVID-19 on their lives. We would like to use
this opportunity to shed more light on the plight of domestic workers in Ghana
during this pandemic and call on government and other duty bearers to do more
to address the issues affecting the members of the Union.
Impact of COVID-19
on Domestic Services Workers:
Termination of contract: Due
to the fact that Domestic Services Workers (DWs) stand a greater chance of
contracting the virus as they commute daily to their workplaces, their
contracts were terminated with the outbreak of COVID-19. This is because
employers were afraid to expose their families to the infection. During the
partial lockdown, live-out domestic workers could not easily travel within the
same city to their workplaces. As a result, the employment contract of some of
it members were terminated. Some also lost their incomes since they could not
work during the period of the partial lockdown. No compensation has been paid
to those who lost their jobs and most face the risk of falling into the poverty
· Domestic violence: Live-in
domestic workers face increased abuse and uncompensated loads of labour, and
sometimes violence. (Assault and harassment, sexual exploitation, physical
abuse, denial of resources). In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, many of the
live-in DWs are stuck with their employers and are also prevented from joining
their families. They are denied their earnings, protective gear, and the
rightful access to information about the virus, and healthcare services. They
are working longer hours with pay cuts and no leave days.
· Lack of social protection
measures: Most DWs do not contribute to social protection
schemes. In Ghana, the third tier of the SSNIT pension scheme allows workers in
the informal sector to contribute towards their pension. However, most domestic
workers do not contribute to the scheme. Also, due to the informal nature (no
employment contract), most employers of the domestic workers do not pay social
security on behalf of the workers. This has worsened the plight of the domestic
workers during this crisis era since most have lost their jobs and also do not
have access to social protection.
Loss of livelihood: DWs
are struggling to pay for rent and other necessities such as food, medication,
and protective gear due to loss of jobs and income. Whiles most of them have
lost their jobs and some have suffered pay cuts, prices of food have also
escalated due to shortages of food stuffs and panic buying from the general
public with the onset of the virus. DWs find themselves ill-equipped to endure
the pandemic in the absence of radical changes to their situation in the
absence of support from government which can bring radical changes to their
The law does not oblige employers to pay the full
salaries of DWs during the lockdown in Ghana and as a result most informal
economy workers including domestic workers were not able to place claims
through legal channels.
call on government to do the following:
· Put in place a stimulus package for domestic workers
and issue an emergency legislation that stops the exploitation of DWs while we
work towards the ratification and adoption of ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic
Speed up processes towards the ratification and
adoption of ILO Conventions 183 (Maternity Cover) and 190 (Violence and
Harassment in the world of work).
conclude, members of the Domestic Services Workers’ Union would like to use
your respective media platforms to entreat the government to consider us in the
stimulus package which was recently announced.
Services Workers’ Union