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Domestic worker day to see maids rally for rights

Domestic worker day to see maids rally for rights

About 100 domestic workers planned to gather today in front of the Ministry of Labour to mark International Domestic Workers Day by calling on the government to do more to ensure their rights.

Vun Samphors, president of the Cambodian Domestic Workers Network (CDWN), told the Post that participants planned to submit a petition to the ministry.

“I want to [ask] the minister to take legal action and administrative action to protect the rights of domestic workers, such as to study research on the situation of domestic workers in Cambodia and set a decent minimum wage for them.”

Samphors is also calling on the government to ratify the International Labour Organization’s Convention 189, which entitles domestic workers to one day off every week, among other benefits.

Samphors said that ahead of the event the CDWN had distributed hundreds of leaflets to market vendors and homeowners across Phnom Penh to promote the rights of domestic workers.

According to Samphors, while the CDWN has just 368 members, there are some 240,000 domestic workers across the country.

“Most of them are from poor families and are poorly educated,” she said, adding that workers can earn between $50 and $150 each month.

“The workers who work in foreigners’ homes receive a higher wage,” she said.

A 22-year-old domestic worker who asked not to be named said she works more than 10 hours a day for a monthly wage of just $50.

“It would be really good if domestic workers could get a higher wage . . . I have to get up at 4:30 or 5am to start my jobs such as cleaning the home, washing clothes, cooking and looking after the homeowner’s kids,” she said.

The government is nearing deals that would see Cambodian domestic workers sent to Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

In April, the Post found that at least three Cambodians who had travelled to work as maids in Singapore since August last year as part of a pilot scheme have complained to worker welfare groups there about employer abuse and poor working conditions.

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