Last 16th of June was the 8th anniversary of ILO’s Domestic Workers Convention 2011(No.189; on Decent Work for Domestic Workers). The convention was overwhelmingly approved by ILO memberstates including the Republic of Korea. It is also the anniversary of International Domestic Workers’ Day, when the rights of domestic workers was turned into reality worldwide after the declaration in 101st Session of the International Labour Conference. 


    In commemoration of this respectful day, Korean Domestic Workers Association(Domestic workers’ rights activist organization under Korean Women Workers Association) hosted a press conference on the legislation of the Special Act on Domestic Workers and campaigned in Gwanghwamun Square urging: “Domestic workers’ labour rights should be protected”. 





    Domestic workers who joined the event displayed discriminative words they actually heard from employers on the cork board, which were often insulting and offensive. Some of those words were rather cruel: Suspiscions like ‘I can’t see my ring’, ‘Have you seen my purse?’, or Disrespects- ’You don’t need to come to work from tomorrow(on a text message)’, ’You don’t have a trustworthy impression’, ‘Old lady’, ‘Housekeeper’, etc- were displayed, showing that many domestic workers are suffering from prejudice and disrespect. By erasing those words altogether with citizens and other activists, the domestic workers were able to erase the wounds in their hearts.





     Korean Domestic Workers Association has been stating and campaigning that using the term ‘domestic worker’ instead of ‘housekeeper’ can attribute in social recognition for domestic workers. Still, many people underevaluate the significance of domestic labor, merely thinking it as a repetitive and simple chorse. It is a matter of course that proper recognition on domestic labor will bring respect for domestic workers, resulting in better domestic labor service, thus there ought to be the change in our common perception towards domestic workers.   





     The members of Korean Domestic Workers Association had been building up movements to raise awareness in the labor rights of domestic workers while fighting against the stigma on  domestic workers and labor. They had been urging that the “Labor Standard Act”‘s loophole  excluding domestic labor from the definition of labor is a serious discrimination against social justice. While protesting against the injustice, the members were able to announce themselves proudly as a activist and laborer. 



     During the press conference, one of the members shared their work experience and how proud they feel as a professional domestic worker.




[ Hello. I am Kim Soon-Duk from Incheon branch. I am one of the domestic worker who does cleaning, laundry, cooking, and etc. I am not a caretaker, so usually I work without supervisor. But I always work hard and sincerely since there are lot to take care of. 

  I was deeply disappointed when the clients blamed me for stealing their valuables Some of the clients often put their belongings too deep inside their lockers and forgot where it was originally. But often, I was the one to be blamed for the loss. I heard the suspicious doubts from the clients for multiple times, but all of them found their belongings at home. Those suspiscions were very hurful and disappointing. Once, there was a client who worked in China that blamed me for stealing his passport, since it could be used in many countries. I asked the client about the details, but he was merely suspecting me although his memories weren’t clear. He called me almost ten times a day and threatened me, telling me about the immigration office and his respectful friends. I suggested that it would be better if he notifies the case to the police, but he refused. He told me that it can’t be a case since there is no evidence and got offended by what I sad. This made me very heartbroken and upset. 

  It is very difficult to work hard after hearing these groundless suspiscion, but all I could do is to ask my clients to trust me. If the domestic workers become widely recognized as a normative profession, I believe that those groundless suspiscion and ignorance will no longer happen. I want to work with trust and dignity. Thus, I am looking foward for the national assembly to pass the legislation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. ] 


After the hearing, domestic workers read the letters to citizens aloud, and proceeded the campaign insisting the legislation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. 


There needs to be a social recognition admitting that domestic labor should treated as a lawful and equal labor. Therefore, there needs to be a legal recognition on domestic laborers by including domestic labor as an “employee” in Korean Labor law, especially in the “Labor Standard Act”. 




Accordingly, we strongly urge that the Korean government must establish the legislation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. 





Posted by KWWA

On Thursday, March 15th, feminist groups and nonaffiliated individuals held a joint press conference in Press Center and declared the inauguration of Citizen Action with #MeToo Movement. Korean Women Workers Association and eleven regional branches joined the Action.

 

 

 

 

Recently, #MeToo in various sectors of the society is ceaselessly pouring out. Sexism and sexual violence in Korean society is not new, but what many victims and feminist groups have pointed out for a long time. Sexual violence is not a personal trivial incident, but a social structural problem that all the members of the society should work hard to remove.

 

Korean society should feel responsible for the #MeToo movement, and actively engage in the reform of social structure that has made sexist power relation and sexual violence possible. We should consider sexism and sexual violence as a serious problem of the time and gather the power of solidarity across the entire society. Citizen Action with #MeToo Movement aims at coming up with continuous and integrated approach so that many feminist, labor, and civic groups and individuals can cooperate and support #MeToo.

 

 

 

Based on this understanding of the current situation and the passion for the better, Citizen Action with #MeToo Movement finally inaugurated in March 15th to gather power to remove sexual violence in the society. More than three hundred and forty feminist, labor, and civic groups and more than a hundred and sixty individuals joined.

 

 

 

 

Now we will build up a foundation to support the social change by the #MeToo movement. We will urge legal and institutional reform and plan various cultural events to improve social awareness and to create gender equal society.

 

 

 

 

Below are the goals of Citizen Action with #MeToo Movement. 

○ We support the #MeToo movement with solidarity for the fundamental change of the sexist structure and culture.

○ We take firm action against any plot to doubt, blame, or make political use of victims, and work hard to protect the rights of victims.

○ We remove any institutional or cultural scheme to shut victims’ mouths, and urge clear investigation and proper punishment for perpetrators.

○ We urge the State and the society to fulfill their duty to uproot sexism and sexual violence and actualize gender equality and to devise detailed policies and institutions.

○ We self-inspect and discuss our everyday lives and activities for actual change, and urge self-inspection and change of the whole society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After delivering the purpose, goal, and plan of the citizen action, we showed a symbolical performance. We tore a large banner to pieces, which contained sexist phrases and sentences created under the sexist social atmosphere. It showed our strong will to never accept this words anymore and to remove prevalent sexual violence and create a gender equal society after this wave of #MeToo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, it is!

 

#MeToo, at the end of this fight will arrive the world we have imagined! Korean Women Workers Association will always walk along with this wave. We ask for your attention and support!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by KWWA

Cooperative Council of Care Workers, representing housekeepers, personal assistants for the disabled, social workers, baby caregivers, and other sorts of care workers, held a general assembly in February 3rd at Daejeon NGO Support Center.

 

 

 

 

 

A number of representatives attended the fifth general assembly meeting. The secretary-general of the Busan regional branch helped starting the pre-meeting program.

 

 

 

The chairperson of the Cooperative Council of Care Workers, Yoon Hyeyeon gave a lecture on “How to Protect Care Work?”

 

 

 

 

She briefly explained the history of the Cooperative Council of Care Workers. She reaffirmed that care work is not voluntary free labor but a proper form of labor. The members of the council have fought hard for the acknowledgement of care work over the last five years, which contributed to the broader social consciousness of care work

 

 

 

Government’s attitude toward care work has changed a lot in terms of institutions and policies. However, Yoon pointed out that there is still a long way to go, especially to the Bureau of National Association of Housekeepers and Social Service Bureau.

 

 

 

 

 

After the lecture, regional branches introduced themselves. Fifteen branches under the council shared their last-year projects with photos and funny chants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a short break, the general assembly began with a congratulatory speech of the standing representative of the Korean Women Workers Association Lim Yoonok. She pointed out that the invisible care workers became visible as a result of the council and the members’ effort and protests. The State Council has passed Domestic Labor Act and the rationalization of care work pay has started. Lim encouraged the members to overcome the expected difficulties later on.

 

 

 

The secretary-general of the council Ssollang reported the activities and projects in 2017. The council did a lot!

 

 

 

 

And she proposed the council’s 2018 plan, as below.

1. Stabilization of the council for people-centered care work and community-based management

2. Education of the members to help them grow as the experts in care work

3. Planning for development of the council organization

 

 

 

With the concurrences of the representatives, the council’s 2018 plan was approved. Let’s go for another meaningful year 2018! We hope the value of care work can be comprehended in a broader society in 2018 with the members’ passion and resolution.

 

 

 

P.S. The secretary-general Ssollang, who has worked hard from the start of the council, will quit in February. She sent her regard to the members in the meeting and the members sent their gratitude to her dedication. Wish you all the best, Ssollang!

 

 

 

Posted by KWWA