League of Undocumented Domestic Workers of CSC Brussels denounces violence at work

Brussels: The League of Undocumented Domestic Workers of the CSC Brussels denounces the violence suffered at work, its effects on living conditions and the effective impossibility of filing a complaint in order to live and work with dignity.

On November 25, 2022, on the occasion of the international day for the fight against violence against women, the League of Undocumented Domestic Workers echoed thousands of migrant and undocumented women in order to challenge those responsible for Brussels policies on their working and living conditions. 

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To this end, they submitted a motion to each leader of the democratic group in the Brussels Parliament. They also asked to be heard before January 23, 2023, on this subject by the Committee on Economic Affairs and Employment with a view to taking a position.

Indeed, neither their work nor their role in society is recognized, even though they are essential and make up for a structural shortage in a sector largely in demand by thousands of households. Forced to leave their children in their country of origin by entrusting them to other women, they work on the front line to take care of the sick, children and the elderly here in Belgium.

Moreover, despite labour law and the imperative enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights that everyone enjoys equality in dignity and rights:

They are not protected when they try to denounce the abusive bosses to fight against the multiple and cumulative violence they suffer because they risk being placed in a closed centre despite their status as victims; they are not entitled to health insurance, sick leave or a living wage.

In addition, allow migrant women with and without papers who are overexploited in the domestic sector (personal care, childcare, etc.) to lodge a complaint and to be protected throughout the procedure in order to guarantee dignified work and working conditions and decent wages, the Brussels Region is required to respect:

 The best interests of victims, at the intersection of labour law, the principles of equal rights, equal treatment and the right to be defended in court; International Labor Organization Convention No. 189 on Domestic Workers;

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The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), without any discrimination against victims, regardless of their residence status.

To date, no invitation to be heard by the Committee on Economic Affairs and Employment has been sent to the attention of undocumented domestic workers.

This petition, therefore, aims to impose a debate that is often ignored on the political agenda despite the fundamental role played by these workers in dealing with the shortages of personnel in these sectors, fueling in spite of themselves a social dumping that pulls down the working conditions of their colleagues with papers in Brussels, capital of Europe.

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