Asociación de Trabajadoras del Hogar a Domicilio y de Maquila (ATRAHDOM), Guatemala
ATRAHDOM in Guatemala is supporting an alliance of women domestic, agricultural and factory workers pushing for labour protections and bridging the gaps between the feminist and labour movements. More than 60% of women employed in Guatemala are home-based workers. When ATRAHDOM began its activities in 2008, domestic workers had no minimum wage or social benefits. Their only legal regulation protecting them was a maximum 14 hour work day. In practice, their working days averaged 18 hours. In the factories, where 60 to 80% of all workers are women, workers were often forbidden to talk to each other or to go to the toilet. The response to women who tried to organise for better working conditions was violent and sometimes even resulted in murders.
ATRAHDOM began monitoring the work of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Inspection Units in 2009, exposing their failures through the media and pushing for reforms that will guarantee better protection for women workers.
In 2010 the organisation secured a commitment from the National Ministry of Labour for a minimum wage standard for domestic workers. The organsation was invited to consult with members of the Ministry and members of Parliament on how to strategise a national social security programme for domestic workers. ATRAHDOM also organised a congress of women workers and founded a youth cohort. Together they produced a statement of the main issues facing informal work. They presented this statement at the 2012 Conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which was dedicated to domestic work. At this historic conference delegates from all over the world adopted the Convention on Domestic Workers under the motto: Domestic Work is Decent Work. The new ILO standards set out that domestic workers around the world who care for families and households, must have the same basic labour rights as those available to other workers.
A spokeswoman from ATRAHDOM stated: ‘This Convention goes beyond the current labour laws in Guatemala. Our next step is to secure that our government ratifies and implements the Convention on Domestic Workers’.
ATRAHDOM received grants by Mama Cash in 2010, 2011 and 2012.