LEBANON IS URGED TO RECOGNIZE A DOMESTIC WORKERS' UNION

From Human Rights Watch, March 10, 2015:

"On December 29, 2014, six Lebanese workers submitted a request to the Labor Ministry to form such a union. With support of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Union Federation (ITUC), and the Federation of Trade Unions of Workers and Employees (FENASOL) in Lebanon, approximately 350 domestic workers of various nationalities gathered for the union’s inaugural congress on January 25, 2015. But union members said they have received no response to their request, and Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi denounced the union as illegal, media reports said." MORE... 

Domestic workers' union in Lebanon? 

[From an AlJazeeraAmerica news article, January 2, 2015:] 

"Lebanon could become the first Arab state to allow migrant domestic workers into a labor union if the country’s labor ministry approves a proposal submitted by the National Federation of Labor Unions.

"The ministry announced on Monday that it had received the proposal, and that it was studying whether Lebanese labor law protects the right of migrant domestic workers to be in a union.

"An estimated 200,000 migrant laborers are employed as domestic workers in Lebanon, according to a May 2014report by the human rights group Anti-Slavery. Those workers, many of whom are Nepalese, are routinely subject to abusive practices that range from “non-payment of wages and no time off to forced and bonded labor and servitude,” according to the report. Of the employers surveyed by Anti-Slavery, fewer than 20 percent allowed their domestic workers to take a day off and leave the house.

"The domestic workers seeking union recognition want to force a change to the kafala system, a labor law regime employed throughout much of the Arab world."  MORE...