European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

EFFAT Women’s Conference: “Promote industrial relations in the domestic work sector in Europe”

20/11/2014
Pia Stalpaert, President of the EFFAT Women's Committee, opened the EFFAT Women‘s Conference and welcomed the participants. She recalled the conditions of employment of the world's 400 million domestic workers, and stressed the need for the fastest possible ratification of ILO Convention 189.

Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT General Secretary, welcomed the uniquely high participation in the Women's Conference, and the fact that all member organisations complied with the rules in the Constitution on balanced participation of women and men in the EFFAT decision-making bodies adopted at the 2009 Congress. The proportion of women in the Congress delegates is 47%. He underlined the positive impact of increased participation of women in trade unions, politics and business.
 
Bruno Vannoni, the outgoing EFFAT President, proposed the establishment of a special platform for domestic workers and suggested that EFFAT in future addressed the issue of women and migration.
Therese Guovelin, future EFFAT President, emphasised that women have to take the positions where decisions are made, and that a balanced participation is a common political challenge for women and men.
 
Klaudia Frieben, Chair of PROGE Women’s Committee, noted that gender equality in EFFAT is not just lip service, but a living reality. Cross-sectoral and cross-border trade unions such as EFFAT are necessary for global networking.
 
Renate Anderl, Vice President of ÖGB and Chair of ÖGB Women’s Committee, congratulated EFFAT on the achievements in gender equality and recommended EFFAT as a model for other trade unions.
 
Anna Basten, researcher, presented the results achieved so far in the EFFAT Project “Promote industrial relations in the domestic work sector in Europe”. 31 orgnisations from 14 countries had provided information on the trade union organisation's activities, legislation, employers' organisations and collective agreements in the domestic worker sector.
 
Elena Vanelli, FISASCAT-CISL, and Giuliana Mesina, FILCAMS-CGIL presented the work of the Italian trade unions with domestic workers and the collective agreements.
 
Rosita Abcede introduced the self-help organisation of and for migrant domestic worker Justice for Domestic Workers (J4DW), which is supported by UNITE the Union in its struggle for rights and welfare.
 
Pia Stalpaert and Inge Gielis, CSC-ACV, showed the film "Upstairs / Downstairs", representing the history of the unionisation of domestic workers in Belgium. The system of service vouchers for household help made it possible to bring hundreds of thousands of domestic workers in the regular labor market.
 
The Women's Conference instructed the EFFAT Executive Committee to ensure that a platform for the further work on the topic of domestic workers is created, in consultation with the Women's
Committee.
 
Furthermore, the Women's Conference decided to send a political signal and to draft a joint letter which calls upon EU Member States to promptly ratify and implement the ILO Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers.
 
The participants welcomed the progress made in terms of gender equality described in the activity report, for example concerning the representation of women in the EFFAT bodies and the integration of the dimension of gender equality in the EFFAT policies. In particular, the number of female delegates to Congress - 47% - was welcomed.
 
The Women's Conference reaffirmed the priorities for the future EFFAT work on gender equality as defined by the EFFAT Work Programme 2015-2019. In particular, the reduction of the gender pay gap between men and women remains a high priority. For this purpose, the Women's Conference adopted the EFFAT recommendations on equal pay for men and women, based on the successful initiatives presented by member organisations.
 
The Women’s Conference elected Marianne Landa Conference as new President of the EFFAT Women's Committee, and Giuliana Mesina as Vice-President.

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.