Founded in 1991 | Thousand Currents Partner since 2023

Jamaica Household Workers’ Union (JHWU)

Protecting the rights of domestic workers and their working conditions

The Jamaica HouseholdWorkers Union (JHWU) is a Black women-led non-governmental and non-partisan union that represents the needs and interests of domestic workers. It is the first organization of its kind in Jamaica founded to defend domestic workers from exploitation, violence, harassment and other human rights violations. Their goals are:

  • Ensure fair and just working conditions and wages for domestic workers
  • Protect the rights of women who provide domestic service
  • Provide skills training in household management
  • Empower its members to achieve their personal and on-the-job goals

They use advocacy, popular education, communications, direct action, and alliance building to influence the public debate and public policies on issues that affect domestic workers and improve their working conditions by influencing labor laws and agreements nationally and internationally. The JHWU’s structure facilitates and encourages dialogue and consultation to inform collective decision-making.

JHWU successfully lobbied the government to ratify the ILO’s Convention 189 (aka the Domestic Workers’ Convention), which formed the basis for JHWU to hold the government accountable for the implementation of laws and policies to protect the rights of the domestic workers. JHWU provides training and legal support about labor rights and regulations, including issuance of employment contracts, dispute representation and negotiations of terms, conditions and wages. They produced the first ever Manual for Household Workers and Employers in Jamaica on their Rights and Obligations which has helped significantly in building awareness and holding employers accountable for decent work conditions. JHWU offers training to upskill household workers and connects domestic workers with job opportunities. In addition, JHWU has an emergency channel to support domestic workers in personal crises.