Today is the 100th International Women's Day

Which to me doesn’t mean a lot but an email message that came through because of it does offer a bit of an opportunity. Its to do with anti-slavery and doing something today about it as part of the 100th anniversary. Message was a bit over the top but some of it made sense as some “employment protection” for domestic workers is needed internationally at the same time how much? They were talking of a campaign to form up a convention to combat domestic workers rights at the same time I am thinking convention who will be taking the money? let me guess another charity about to cash in. After working through their site they also discuss the difference between “informal” and “real” work as domestic help is often seen as informal labour which is why these rights would look to introduce “Real” work regulations and rights which no doubt include a minimum wage. Their main drive was anti-slavery in the UK and the abuse of domestic workers yet they look to spread these same rights they want to give people in the UK internationally. Big problem with that is many of the domestic helps they talk of being abused in the UK are under the control of people like Arabs with diplomatic immunity so this wouldn’t affect them. Secondly the fact rolling this out worldwide doesn’t work as its easy to see why here in the Philippines, there are people without homes, people that don’t eat 3 meals a day and at the same time adding minimum wages would actually force more people to the unemployed queue. A discussion with a friend the other day we covered the topic of domestic helpers as we both employ them. Now minimum wage in Cebu is based around P350 per day and no doubt a domestic helper with rights would only be entitled to a 12 hrs day instead of the 24hrs assistance that childcare takes so would you remove the helper for 12hrs of the day as they generally are only needed part-time as its not constant work. E.g. kids nap in the afternoons and many are at school leaving the domestic staff to potter around the house and watch TV. If they did a 12 hrs day I wouldn’t employ one for sure as it wouldn’t work round the family. Now on top of that the going rate in Cebu is around P1,600 – P2,000 per month metro Manila is P3,500 if you give a minimum salary of P350 per day your looking at a salary more inline with a skilled worker who went to university which means pretty much most of the local communities could not afford the army of helpers they currently have and need. You also have to look at the way things slowly move forward here which is why people have a lot of people at home as getting things done today normally means giving 3 days notice!

Now protection rights for workers I agree with such as anti-abuse, anti-trafficking and salaries relative to the economies ability to function. Here we don’t keep workers under key and chain they come and go as they please and with our current helper there has been regular family problems which often means she’s had to deal with outside issues regularly where to be honest if it was a skilled person on a salary of over P6,000 a month they would have been fired. Then what is the value of room and board? Free food and a bed are common practice and in the UK its used to offset giving Eastern Europeans bad salaries as they value some old moldy caravan at £100 a week so they can take it straight from the workers salaries so that didn’t work so how would this?

Its partly why I don’t like charities as they often sit in Western countries preaching to others on how they want to help XYZ yet they don’t even spend enough time trying to understand the real issues and problems within localised societies as well as the cultures,beliefs and way of life of others. They automatically assume the Western way is the right way. Well if that was true why did we near enough see all Western countries near enough go bankrupt?