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To: Minister of Labour- Mildred Oliphant

Minister of Labour wants to change the law so domestic workers can get compensation - support this

To Minister of labour, Mildred Oliphant, we call on you to recognise domestic worker's rights by including domestic workers in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.

It is an injustice that domestic workers are not covered by this Act, taking into account the important, yet hazardous, work they do. We call on you to recognise domestic work as important, formal work. It is time to end the oppression of Black womxn, by giving Black womxn the same dignity as many other workers who are covered by this Act. By including domestic workers in this Act, you will send a message that domestic work is recognised, and domestic workers will be protected by law. It is important that our political leaders recognise domestic work, so that employers and society will follow suite.

Why is this important?

Domestic workers are denied compensation for injuries because they are excluded from the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA). But an amendment to the law has been proposed. But we only have 7 days before public submissions close, and we need to come together in numbers to ensure the law is changed.

Maria Mahlangu, a domestic worker drowned in 2012. Her family was offered only R2500
compensation. Johanna Motha was bitten by her employer's dog and set home without medical treatment. She ended up dying as a result of her injuries. These are just two of the countless incidences of injury and illness domestic workers have faced on the job.

SADSAWU( South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union) brought an application against the Minister of Labour and the Compensation Commissioner for domestic workers to claim compensation in terms of the Compensation for Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993(COIDA), in response to the poor compensation Mahlangu's family was offered. The case has been pending since 2015. The case has recently been postponed, after being set for the 15th of October. This case is an example of the consequences of domestic worker's exclusion in this Act. We call on you to recognize this case, as well as the rights of domestic workers.

The reality is that domestic work opens itself up to abuse. This abuse is targeted at Black working class womxn, who work behind closed doors and make up the largest percentage of domestic workers. Issues like health are always linked to racism and classism. Domestic workers are not seen as equals to their employer and are treated with contempt and disrespect. In the past domestic work, was not regulated by government, because they were not part of key labour legislation. Their work, was therefore seen as casual and informal, and little respect was paid to the work they do. This attitude of disregard towards domestic workers, is still seen in the way employers treat domestic workers.

We are not paying enough attention to the health of domestic workers. Even though domestic work is included in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, they are still not a part of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act [1]. This means domestic workers cannot seek medical compensation for costs linked to work related injuries and diseases. Domestic workers have to cover their own medical expenses when injured on the job. This is often times impossible- due to the small sum of money they are paid. Domestic workers should be paid R1787.80 a month [2], this is hardly enough to cover basic living expenses and transport to work.

A study by Dr. Lindiwe Innocentia Zungu on the health conditions domestic workers experience. The findings were that there are a range of workplace health hazards. These included “chemical hazards due to detergents and other chemicals used for cleaning purposes, and physical hazards from activities involving manual handling and/or repetitive movements, e.g. scrubbing floors, moving furniture, washing and ironing clothes.... Furthermore, psycho-social hazards due to urbanization were also prevalent among participants who resided in their employers’ premises.'' [3]

It is clear that domestic work can be dangerous, physically and mentally. This is why it is important that we demand for the Minister of Labour to commit to including domestic workers in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.

By including domestic workers in this Act, they will have access to health care, when faced with injury or illness acquired on the job. Their inclusion in this Act is also a message of recognition for the important work they do. By getting enough signatures on this petition, together we can demand the Minister of Labour to commit to making domestic work a priority and include them in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.

[1] “The 2018 minimum wages for nannies and domestic workers.” Nic Anderson. 13 December 2017 for Parent24
[2]“Bill on labour brokers gets green light”Nov 12 2013 Sapa. Fin24
[3]"Employment conditions and challenges associated with being a domestic worker in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. "Dr Lindiwe Innocentia Zungu, Associate Professor, University of Johannesburg, Faculty of Health Sciences.

How it will be delivered

We will email the petition. We will also mobilize action, if the case of Sylvia Mahlangu is not attended to.

South Africa

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2018-09-18 16:21:30 +0200

Exciting Meeting today with representatives from Oxfam ,Solidarity Center, SERI, Spn Cycle , OZA and Digital Girl Africa !

2018-09-17 13:14:27 +0200

Exciting meeting with a representative from the UWC Social Law Project! There are still so many injustices domestic workers face. There are more campaigns to come

2018-09-13 10:58:45 +0200

We will be working together with SADSAWU (South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union) on getting the Minister of Labour's attention

2018-09-13 10:41:03 +0200

We will be working together with the Social Law Project at UWC.

2018-09-13 09:33:01 +0200

100 signatures reached

2018-09-11 23:36:23 +0200

50 signatures reached

2018-09-11 22:00:45 +0200

25 signatures reached

2018-09-11 16:55:33 +0200

10 signatures reached