Domestic workers honour suffragettes to highlight mode...

Domestic workers honour suffragettes to highlight modern day quest for equality

05 March 2015

WHEN: Photo opportunity, Sunday 8 March 2015, 15:00
WHERE: Old Palace Yard, Westminster, SW1
Domestic workers will re-enact being suffragettes outside parliament on Sunday (8 March) to highlight the modern quest for equality on International Women’s Day (IWD).
The initiative will be staged by members of Justice 4 Domestic Workers (J4DW) who will don the period clothing with the aim of connecting the events of a century ago with the modern day causes promoted by IWD of equality, recognition and respect.
The demonstration comes after the recent victory when the House of Lords passed an amendment to the Modern Slavery bill which now allows domestic workers to change employers once in the UK – and the amended bill is expected to go to the House of Commons within the next week for its third and final reading.
Diana Holland Unite assistant general secretary said: “Migrant domestic workers’ struggle for justice links to all women’s struggles throughout our history. Just as suffragettes fought for the right to vote, migrant domestic workers are now struggling for the right to be free.
“Following the historic House of Lords amendment now is the time for us to call on MPs to support the change and not to undermine this achievement - which breaks the tie to their employer and recognises them as a worker in their own right ending modern day slavery.”
Marissa Begonia Justice 4 Domestic Workers coordinator said: “Domestic workers, struggling for justice, decent pay and conditions, and equality are continuing the fight that the suffragettes made so eloquently 100 years ago. Their campaign still has real relevance today.”
For more information please contact or contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940 or Marissa Begonia on 07584 160216.

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
  • Unite: Unite was central to the campaign to establish the Overseas Domestic Workers visa in 1998, and the achievement of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention in 2011.  
  • Justice 4 Domestic Workers: Justice 4 Domestic Workers (J4DW) is a domestic worker led group formed in 2009 affiliated with Unite. It has more than a thousand members from different countries, mainly the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Morocco and Nigeria.  
  • J4DW is campaigning for the retention of the domestic worker visa and for the government to sign and ratify ILO Convention 189 “Decent work for domestic workers”. The ILO convention was passed in June 2011. The UK government, having committed to supporting a convention ‘in principle’ refused to vote to pass the convention. The government abstained along with the Sudan, El Salvador and Malaysia. The only other EU country to abstain was the Czech Republic.