Capacity building for domestic workers and strengthening the Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand

Project proposal for

Capacity building for domestic workers and

strengthening the Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand

1 March 2016 – 28  February  2017

 

Background and strategy

 

As of the record of December 2015, the Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand comprises 536 members, of which 400 are Thai and 136 are migrants (MDWs). In the annual meeting held in March, 2015, 15 members were voted to be the Network’s leaders. Of the number, 12 are Thai and 3 are migrants. Members are required to pay yearly membership fee: 150 baht for Thai members and 120 baht for migrant members. Board of directors meetings are regularly conducted. The Network’s rules and regulations are constantly reviewed to adequately respond to emerging situations. Thai members also run a saving group. Saving-related activities are held on a monthly basis. The saving amount recorded in January 2016 is 215,500 baht. Some of the saving is used as loans for needy members, and for improving welfare for the members. Additionally, the Network occasionally raises funds for organizing special activities, for example, New Year celebration, tours, and producing Network’s t-shirts. The activities significantly contributed to reaching out for more members.

The group of MDWs have developed their own rules and voted for their own group’s leaders who represent each ethnic group, including Shan, Karen, Burmese and Pa-O. Works to engage the group have been focused on enhancing their knowledge related to migration policy, work permit and reproductive health.

Apart from network-strengthening activities, the Network has advocated, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and employers, for enforcement of the domestic worker regulation No. 14 with support of embassies and media. A series of training were organized to enhance legal knowledge and skills of the Network’s leaders, particularly ones related to access to the judicial processes. The Network provided legal assistance to domestic workers who were taken advantage of in terms of employment. Regarding the case of the Ethiopian domestic worker abused by her employer, the Network made public demand to ensure adequate investigation into the case. The abovementioned activities have generally raised awareness of the members about the importance of access to judicial processes.

With regards to access to the Social Security, the Network met with a representative of the Social Security Office to assert why it is important that the Social Security, Section 33 applied to formal workers be extended to cover domestic workers. This issue was also advocated through varying media channels. Consequently, the Network’s representative has been recognized to be part of the Working Group to consider the feasibility of the extension.

At the national level, the Network has collaborated with the Informal Workers Network and other labour-related networks in other social advocacy activities, including the national reform, women’s rights, women’s economic rights. At the international level, the Network’s representatives participated in activities organized by IDWF, UNHCR, and UN Women.

In the meeting to evaluate the Network’s works undertaken in 2015, and to formulate a plan for the year 2016, three areas of focus were identified:

  • Strengthening and expanding the Network: reaching out for MDWs from countries apart from Myanmar and Thai domestic workers living in other provinces outside Bangkok. At least, migrants of another nationality and Thai domestic workers of another province are expected to reach out.
  • Advocacy for widespread and effective enforcement of laws protecting domestic workers. In collaboration with employers andrecruitment agencies, use of employment contracts and access to judicial procedures of domestic workers will be promoted.
  • Partnering with journalists to build positive perception of employers and wider public towards domestic workers

It is worth mentioning that the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion have partially secured a grant from the International Federation  of  Red Cross  and Red Crescentsocieties to execute projects that benefit MDWs in terms of access to health care and judicial processes.

Thus, the proposal to be implemented in March 2016- February 2017, submitted to ILO focuses on expanding and strengthening the Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand; enhancing legal protection and welfare for domestic workers in Thailand; as well as cultivating positive public perception towards domestic workers.

The immediate objectives for this phase are as follows:

  1. To expand and strengthen the Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand
  2. To advocate for legal protection and welfare for domestic workers
  3. To build positive perspective of employers and the wider public towards social protection of domestic workers

Activities

  1. Expanding and strengthening the Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand
    • Organizing the national- leveled meeting of board of directors (3 times) for follow-up and planning. The platform will also be a semi-capacity building for the leaders for future operation of the Network; through the platform, the leaders’ knowledge on issues of their interest will be enhanced. The meeting will be one-day long and held once every 4 month with 15 board members.

1.2       MDW Board of directors meeting (3 times) to build capacity of the leaders so that they become capable of planning and initiating and executing activities that enhance social protection of MDWs. The meeting will be one-day long and held once every 4 month with 15 MDW board members.

1.3       A Leadership training will be organized for members, both Thai and migrants, with potential leadership capacities. The key content will be about the importance of organizing as a group/ network, and approaches to work with new members. The training will be two days.

1.4       Workshop on Social Security for the Network’s leaders to raise good understanding about the Social Security Act, particularly the intention of the law and benefit packages. This one-day workshop will have 30 participants (Thai and migrant members).

1.5       Meeting with NGOs working with migrants : Currently several NGOs working on migrant issues without or with limited knowledge about domestic workers. An exchange platform among the organizations will allow the Network to gain more support in enlarging membership; increasing social protection of domestic workers, and referring cases of rights violation to organizations with adequate expertise. The meeting will be one- day long with 20 representatives from NGOs working on migrant-related issues, including Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF),Thailand’s State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation (SERC), MAP Foundation Thailand, Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN) and Women’s Foundation.

1.6       Annual general meeting to inform members about the progress of the Network in the respects of past activities, fiscal information, growth and problems. Next year plan will be collectively formulated. The meeting is to increase transparency and accountability of board of directors, and to enhance ownership of members. This one- day long meeting will accommodate 150 members.

1.7       Evaluation and planning meeting to draw lessons learned ;to identify emerging problems and how to address as well as; to formulate a work plan for the next phase. This one-day long meeting will be participated by 25 leaders of the Network.

1.8       Developing membership database and producing membership cards to ensure systematic and fast tracking of up-to-date membership data.

1.9       Producing publications related to the Network’s background and benefits of members for dissemination:

  • 2,000 copies of brochure in Burmese
  • Rules and regulations of the Network: 1,200 Thai copies and 800 Burmese copies.
  1. Advocacy to promote legal protection and welfare of domestic workers.
    • Legal training for domestic workers in Khon Kaen Province. In a meeting with domestic workers in Khon Kaen in 2015, a number of them expressed interest in participating the Network’s activities. The Project will start with organizing a one-day training on the Ministerial Regulation No. 14 and the Social Security Act to raise participating domestic workers’ understanding about their rights guaranteed by the laws. There will be 25 participants, namely domestic workers in Khon Kaen and related persons.

2.2      Meeting with employers (2 times). As employers are major stakeholders in law enforcement, meeting with employers to keep them informed and have positive perception on domestic workers will be a catalyst to enforcement of laws. The Project will organize two one-day meetings. The participants will be individual employers and representatives of employer from trade unions and employer’s non-profit organizations. It is expected that the meetings will produce 10 employment contracts to be used by participating employers.

 

2.3        Engaging 2 recruitment agencies to disseminate information about the Ministerial Regulation No.14. It was found that a number of members in the Network use service of recruitment agencies when they seek a new job. To raise understanding of recruitment agencies about domestic workers’ rights and employers’ code of conduct will thus enhance protection of domestic workers. The Project will explore and select at least two recruitment agencies to engage with. Ten employment contracts will be initially produced and used by recruitment agencies which are willing to collaborate to set good example of genuine legal protection.

  1. Awareness-raising and cultivating positive perception about social protection of domestic workers

3.1      Developing website of the Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand.

3.2      Media Brief (3 times) as a proactive strategy to engage journalists in the respects of legal protection, social security, code of conduct of employers and domestic workers. It is expected that engaged journalists will cover activities and movement of the Network and largely contribute to advocacy for social protection of domestic workers. The Project will hold meetings with journalists covering labour, women and human rights issues. This monthly meeting will engage with 10 journalists each time.

3.3      Celebrating International Domestic Workers on 16th June to communicate to the public about the progress of social protection of domestic workers at national and international levels. 150 participants will be from government agencies, trade unions and NGOs.

3.4      Joining campaign on important day, namely The International Women’s Day, National Labour Day and the International Migrant Day. Joining national partners to present identity, problems, demands of domestic workers. Fifteen members will participate in each event.

 

 

 

 

Expected Outcomes

  1. Members of the Network will increase: additional 150 Thai nationals (550 in total), 160 Myanmar nationals (300 in total) and 25 members of another nationality (equivalent to 20% of members of Myanmar nationals)
  2. Twenty-five new leaders with leadership capability will emerge while 30 existing leaders will acquire good understanding about social security and be able to communicate about it to other members.
  3. A network of NGOs working on migrant issues will be established.
  4. Thirty employers and 2 recruiting agencies will acquire good understanding about the Ministerial Regulation No.14, good practice of domestic workers employment. 20 employment contracts will be used in real contexts.
  5. A website for the Network will be developed and regularly updated
  6. Activities and movement of domestic workers will be regularly published through media
  7. Member database that can be used for referencing will be updated
  8. Publications: 2,000 copies of brochure in Burmese about the network of MDWs; rules and regulations of the Network (1200 Thai copies and 800 Burmese copies)