Chairperson of the local Domestic Workers Association Norma Nelson says the time has come for domestic workers to rally together for a more sustainable future in the sector.
At least 800 individuals are employed in some form of domestic work in Antigua and Barbuda, according to the Social Security Board many are confronted with serious challenges due to the nature of their employment.
Earlier in June, the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union conducted a workshop for domestic workers, one that Nelson was successful in building capacity among workers and amplifying their voices on issues that affect them.
The workshop held on June 17 coincided with International Domestic Workers’ Day
Nelson, who sits as an Executive Member of the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), said the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
“It was a very exciting evening! It was a learning experience for everyone,” Nelson said
She said however, that despite these gains, there is great concern that many domestic workers continue to experience various forms of abuse and exploitation including sexual harassment, unfair dismissals, and violations of employment terms.
Agreeing that there are many shortfalls in the domestic industry, Nelson believes that the Association is currently being restructured, to allow the organization to better serve its members
Some of the goals of the Association she said are to secure educational opportunities for members, negotiate a group health Insurance plan and develop standardized work agreements.