The New Times (Kigali)

23 March 2011

Rwanda: Labour Body Moves to Protect Rights of Domestic Workers

Kigali — Labour unions under their umbrella COSYLI, are meeting in Kigali to explore ways of protecting the rights of domestic workers.

The chairperson of COSYLI, Florida Mukarugamba, said that the time had come to rescue house helps from unfair treatment while at work.

"Housemaids face challenges including harassment, assault, poor remuneration and even total failure to earn from their services," Mukarugamba decried.

Unless serious steps are taken, she added, employers will continue taking advantage of them because they are not aware of their own rights.

Celestin Nsabimana, a representative from the Burundian labour unions, said similar challenges are faced in Burundi.

The Chief Labour Inspector, in the Ministry of Public Service, Javan Nkundabakura, noted that house helps' rights are mainly stifled because they are not protected by the labour law.

"The labour law only considers formal employment. This meeting should put in place mechanisms that will protect domestic workers," Nkundabakura said.

He warned against employing children below 16 years, saying reports indicate the tendency is on the rise.

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