News on migration and asylum from around the region - Nouvelles de la région sur les questions de migration et d'asile

Friday, January 30, 2015

[LEBANON] Aljazeera: Lebanon's migrant workers move to form labour union

26 January 2015

Subjected to beatings and rapes, Beirut's domestic workers push to set up Arab world's first labour union.

Migrant domestic workers in Lebanon are pushing to form the first labour union in the Arab world after being subjected to beatings and rape. 
More than 200 women from Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh attended a founding conference in Beirut on Sunday. 
"We want to be treated like human beings, like real workers," said Leticia, a Filipina who was assaulted and raped by her employer several years ago and only gave her first name. "With this union, I will no longer feel alone in the face of abuse," she said.
The union has the support of the National Federation of Workers' Unions in Lebanon (FENASOL), which says the country has a quarter of a million migrant domestic workers but has yet to win recognition from the government. 
Lebanon's Labour Minister Sejaane Azzi stated that the law does not allow foreigners to set up a union, but that "new laws are needed to improve the situation for housemaids".