We feel sad thinking about how the families would feel when the coffins return instead of happy and healthy women. Their families would have hoped that they will have a better future and would be able to help them to have a better life. Never would they have expected that one day only their remains would return. We feel angry too. Surely merely cleaning windows or hanging laundry is not worth risking one’s life?
We request employers not to instruct their domestic workers to clean windows in high rise buildings. A little dust on a window is a small inconvenience and should not be a reason to place domestic workers’ lives in grave danger. One life lost is too many, yet for the year 2012 alone with only 3 months passed, there were 6 tragic accidents involving domestic workers. Are we going to keep counting? How many more lives will be lost by such menial acts?
Based on the number of accidental deaths of domestic workers over the years, we request MOM to impose an immediate ban on the cleaning of windows and the hanging of bamboo sticks for laundry in high rise buildings. Though untrue, some employers continue to believe that they will lose their bond if their domestic worker gets pregnant and therefore, deny them their right to a rest day. What about employers who continue to endanger their domestic workers by flouting safety rules? Should they not lose their $5000 security bond and be banned from hiring domestic workers again?
We also urge our fellow domestic workers to say ‘NO’ to your employer if asked to do any dangerous work. Do not be afraid to tell your employer that your one life is as precious as their lives.
Ristanti Ningrum and Juliet Ugay
On behalf of HOME family of Filipino and Indonesian Domestic Workers