UNIÓN PERSONAL AUXILIAR DE CASAS PARTICULARES (UPACP)
On November 20, 2021, MDWinfo interviewed a representative of the Unión Personal Auxiliar de Casas Particulares (UPACP), a union of domestic workers in Argentina.
The organization promoting the rights and wellbeing of domestic workers, offering support, information, as well as professional capacitation workshops. They also recently inaugurated a center, the centro de la mujer, that will deal with the topics of migration, violence, and social security of domestic workers. They played an important role in promoting the adoption of law 26844 in 2013, which establishes the rights and protection of domestic workers, protecting equally not only nationals but also migrant workers.
Another very important integral goal of the organization is disseminating information and making it available not only for employees, giving them the tools to claim their rights and protection, but also for employers, increasing their awareness about their rights and duties and challenging traditional conceptions of domestic work. One very important project that the UPACP has worked on with the ILO with the goal of making information accessible is the informative passport, which contains all the practical information for migrant domestic workers including the legal framework that protects them in Argentina. This information will also become available in a phone application format soon.
The representative mentions the informality of the domestic sector as one of the main issues in the field. She states that since 2013 great advances have been made in the registration of domestic workers, but there is still a lot of informality as employers do not recognize domestic work as work. The COVID-19 crisis has also served to exacerbate this issue, by increasing unemployment rates and the unwillingness of employers to recognize their works and comply with state regulations that were enacted to protect them. In this context, the UPACP has collaborated with the Ministry of Labor in the creation of the "registradas" program, which aims at reducing informality in the domestic work sector, guaranteeing their rights and financial inclusion. It gives incentives to employers to formalize their contracts by paying part of the domestic worker's salary, which is extremely important both for helping the employer through the economic crisis brought by the pandemic, and for helping the domestic workers keep their jobs. The UPACP also collaborated with the ILO in the campaign “es trabajo, no es ayuda” (“it’s work, not help”), aiming at giving visibility to the importance of domestic work and improving the sector’s regulation, which the interviewee states was very productive in advancing registrations. However, she notes that informality is still very much an issue, and one of the main goals of the organization currently is to provide domestic workers with the knowledge and tools that they need to understand how the law protects them, and work together with them and other State organizations to increase registrations.
RATIFICATION OF ILO CONVENTIONS
Before Argentina ratified the ILO C189, the UPACP was instrumental in using the framework of this convention for the promotion of the national law 26844, in order to have a normative of protection of domestic workers both at the national and international levels.
She also mentions another important ILO convention that Argentina has ratified, the C190 Violence and Harassment Convention, but that will only enter into force for Argentina in 2022. The interviewee points out how domestic workers are sadly subjected to many different forms of violence, not only labor violence, informality and mistreatment, but also domestic and intrafamilial violence. She states therefore that it is important that the ratification of this convention be used as a tool for the national legal framework.
MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS
UPACP's representative stated that there are many migrant domestic workers who seek assistance at the UPACP, and the recently inaugurated centro de la mujer will help speed up migration procedures. She also states that the Migration Law in force is very protective of migrants, which is very important as they represent an important proportion of workers in the domestic sector. She also notes the particularity of migration in Argentina in that the majority of them come from Paraguay, followed by Peru. This also implicates a different cultural background, as she observed that Peruvians tend to be more ready to demand their rights as established in the law and to demand their registration, whereas Paraguayan domestic workers have more trouble claiming their rights. UPACP thus aims at helping these women by informing them of their rights, and by trainings to give them the tools to fight for them.
According to the interviewed representative, some of the most important next steps in the fight for domestic workers’ rights in Argentina are, in no particular order:
Continuing with registration campaigns
Continue collaborating and conversing with ministries in raising awareness and capacitating the sector and registrations
Keep working on the topic of violence
For migrant workers, keep working towards registrations and towards helping them with all that is needed for their proper documentation