Kuneva: Regulating domestic workers will reduce trafficking and abuse  


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Kostadinka Kuneva 

Parliament's women's rights committee adopted a report on Thursday calling on the European Commission to encourage EU countries to take initiatives to protect the rights of domestic workers and care staff in the EU. "If we regulate this profession, we will be able to reduce trafficking and the abuse of women," said report author Kostadinka Kuneva, a Greek member of the GUE group. MEPs will vote on the report during the April plenary. Read our interview with her to find out more.

What is the report about?

It is an own-initiative report by the women's rights committee for a sector covering 2.5 million employees and workers in Europe and 52 million worldwide. And this number refers to official figures.   About 29.9% of domestic workers are completely excluded from national labour legislation. As a result they are often victims of discrimination, they are maltreated and they are forced to work under bad working conditions. The situation is even worst for migrant workers.

The women's rights committee calls on the European Commission to take steps to adopt legislative and non-legislative initiatives to regulate the profession of domestic workers and carers in the EU.

What is the extent of the problem and why it is necessary to have European legislation?

83% of domestic workers around the world are women. A high percentage of these women are immigrants. If we regulate this profession, we will be able to reduce trafficking and the abuse of women.

Do you have any personal experience on this issue that helped with the report?

As an immigrant in Greece I worked for a cleaning company. Although I never worked in people's homes, I have relatives and friends who have. I have also met many women who have made accusations about their working conditions and as the secretary of the Greek Trade Union of Cleaners and Housekeepers I have dealt with these issues and the situation in which they lived.