DOMESTIC WORKERS CLAN

by Ágora Association Ágora is now working on an Integrated Project (IP) TENCompetence Project “Building The European Network for Lifelong Competence Development.”

CLAN – Continuous Learning for Adults with Needs 134649-LLP-1-2007-1-IT-GRUNDTVIG-GMP Grant Agreement 2007-3569/001-001 This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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CLAN PROJECT Obstacles and barriers to the training in groups of adults involved in works characterized by inflexible time management and organized during hours that would generally be dedicated to social life. DOMESTIC WORKERS CLAN History If we take a look at domestic workers history in Catalunya, before the 60´s, a great number of women from outside Barcelona migrated to the city to work for the bourgeois families of Barcelona. Between the 60´s and 70´s, because of the Civil War at the country, internal migrations from other communities inside the country took place, most of them from Andalucía and Extremadura, and also from Galicia and the Castilian zone. All these women came as internal workers to survive in a country that became poor because of the dictatorship. Nowadays, domestic workers are in majority immigrant women. There are a lot of factors that has got immigrant women into this situation. Spain had over the last years an immigration “boom”, particularly from South America, the North of Africa and the East Europe. This means that the jobs nationals don´t want to do, now are jobs the immigrants are doing. This is a market which is open since there is a supply, they cannot get into other fields but they can get into this one. It is an informal field of work, it is not governed by contracts, or by the social services, or by the same surveillance as that imposed on other areas, such as in companies. Access to employment usually happens through personal relationships, friends and the social network. According to the Yearbook of Statistics on Immigration of 2006, migrant women registered for the Special Regime for Domestic Workers in Spain come mainly from Latin America. More than half of the 165.835 domestic workers are from Latin America, approximately 63%. The most representative countries are: Ecuador (41,674), Colombia (21,025), Bolivia (13.061). The second largest group is from Europe and in particular from Romania (22,245) and Bulgaria (5,262). From Africa. Morocco (9,714) is the country from which the highest number of female immigrants arrive and from

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Asia, the Philippines is the country where most of the female migrants come from (4,399). Of these, 60,5% of Domestic Workers are immigrant women and 50,7% are Spanish women. According to a research by the Nacional Women´s Intitute, 45% of immigrant Domestic Workers are females. According to data provided by IMSERSO (2004) half of all carers for the elderly, for example, carry out their duties without a contract. It must be taken into account that domestic work is the sector in which the highest numbers of women work irregularly, which also happens to a large extent in the case of Spanish women (Instituto de la Mujer, 2005). Eventhough, it is proved that national and regional Domestic Workers have a better working situation than immigrants. Domestic Workers sustain the city’s families and homes. They enable parents and families to work and have leisure time knowing that their children, elderly, and homes are taken care of. Domestic workers also enable their employer to meet the demanding hours required for the smooth functioning and productivity of the professional sectors. To hire immigrant women supposes an enlargement of 0,8% on the national production. Description of the Clan Our Clan consists on women working as Domestic Workers in Catalunya. The group is composed by women from the region (Catalunya), nationals (Spain) and immigrants: -Domestic Workers hired by companies not necessarily with a contract or social security. -Domestic Workers working independently without a contract or isurance. -Domestic Workers working and living inside the patron house. Our Domestic Workers group includes nannies, baby nurses, housecleaners, elder care providers, housekeepers, elderly companions and cooks. These are workers who live in their employer’s homes as well as liveout workers, and it is of course an ethnically diverse group. Most of them don´t have an academic certification and they are between 30 and 65 years old.

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Domestic Workers Needs Via domestic work women, either by looking after the elderly or cleaning homes or doing a little bit of everything, are more able to find work but they also find it more difficult to find better jobs. The work conditions were worse in the past for the elder ones, because they had to work when they were young on a narrow minded society ran by a military government. This supposes a lack of confidence they carry around when it comes to find better jobs too.

Domestic Workers agree when it comes to their needs as a group, that their roles involve a lack of power, respect and fair working conditions. These so called working conditions, very often rely in exploitation and oppression. We are talking here about a collective that usually suffers abuse by their employers, and as a group need to get organized and be part of projects that help them conciliate these working conditions. An overview of exclusionary labour laws illustrates the explicit legislative discrimination against domestic workers, while an economic history of domestic work and analysis of present day global pressures that impact the industry illustrate structural dynamics that foster worker abuse. Working without contracts, low salaries, excess of working hours... These are some of the characteristics of this type of work developed by Domestic Workers. These conditions get worse when the worker is an immigrant and frightens to demand about their rights. In these cases, the employer demands rely on fields with lack of dignity. Domestic work forms the invisible backbone of the cities economy. The wages domestic workers earn cannot cover the high cost of living. Domestic workers lack basic labour and health protections and often face exploitative work conditions that go largely unmonitored. Survey results clearly point to the need for industry standards that will ensure fair labour practices, recognition, and humane treatment. But, public debate on this issue is practically non-existent. Even the social image of female migrants is clearly connected to domestic work. There have been no significant awareness campaigns, debates, no battles to help them, nor even information about the reality these women have to face.

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Domestic workers feel they need more skills to overcome difficulties in their every day life and bridge the gap between their working life with their personal lives. There is a clear need on enhancing the workers self esteem, on reinforcing their skills and give them more education on their free time. Schedules

Women working on their own, said they had some freedom in their working hours, but this entails economic instability and lack of opportunities. Some of them can get paid every week. Some of them receive only between 8 or 10 euros an hour.

Women hired by a cleaning company said they have a fixed scheduled but the company sets the hours. They also have poor working conditions. They make also between 8 and 10 euros an hour.

Immigrants working and living in their patrons houses have little freedom to choose their working hours, and usually they have to be constantly at their patrons disposal. Most of them get paid only for 8 hours a day and have to serve the patrons all they long.

Conclussions of the FOCUS GROUP -All women have to work without contracts. -They all have low salaries. (Between 8 and 10 euros an hour) -They can´t find a balance in the working hours. They either have excess of working hours or too little hours that they can´t make enough money. -These women have a lack of self confidence when it comes to get better working or life conditions for themselves. -Even all women have assisted and participated in congresses as speakers and some are literacy students and literacy teachers; most of them are still not completely aware of the obstacles for their own social or cultural growth. If they are aware, they don´t know what to do to improve their professional work or social life. -Most wishes are related to get a higher education. -They all are aware that to get trained in computer skills would help them to improve “somehow”. Interviewees own conclussions

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-All the interviewees concluded that the working conditions are not like before on the 50´s, 60´s and 70´s. Now they feel there are more opportunities but still domestic work is in most ways an exploitation work. -They are a bit scared of new technologies and they need to prove themselves that it is ok to make mistakes and that they can learn, that it is not that difficult. -They think they have to learn through basic tools, and basic things. They also said that when they are alone they don´t fear to make mistakes and feel more confident. -Most of them don´t know how to use Internet or even their own mobile phone. They all want to learn how to use technologies. -They really want to reconcile work and trainning schedules but they need more awareness. They think this would take a long time and they would need patience. They also want to improve their working conditions. -They want more centres where to go and study after work.

Best Practices Organizations doing Best Practices 1. SURT, Women’s Association for Labor Insertion Surt began in 1993 as a non-profit association with the objective of making the processes of incorporation into the job market easier for women, especially those who, for reasons of social, cultural and also personal context, they find themselves in situations of great vulnerability. They do several courses to train women. -Courses in gender training. Introduction to insertion methodologies from a gender perspective: Learning has to be considered in terms of acquisition of abilities and not as a passive retention of disciplinary content. From this perspective, learning fundamentally consists of constructing meanings and attributing sense to that which is learned from personal experience and from knowledge, feelings and values with which each person approaches the contents and activities that she must acquire and work at. It is necessary to value the women’s specific experiences and learning; questioning the socially imposed gender roles and valuing women’s activity in the domestic sphere as

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socially necessary work, and in consequence, valuing their learning as significant and transferable to a work context. Gender conditions the women’s connection to the job market. This reality is what directs the gaze to an analysis of employability, which makes, upon analyzing the structural factors that are affecting the woman’s connection—one specific woman—, those elements that are significant from a gender perspective be incorporated. For example, discrimination factors in connection to the job market. Gender perspective also means supporting the processes of change generally involved in the insertion processes of women, in that for many, modifying their work or professional situation brings with it changes in other spheres of their life, implies modifying directly or indirectly, their role in the family domain. Taking these processes into consideration, recognizing the full value and significance they have for women, is a fundamental component of the tutorial activity. For learning to be meaningful it is necessary to establish relations between that which is learned and that which is known and the surroundings, thus easing the transfer of this knowledge and experience to contexts different from those in which they were learned or experienced. -Labor insertion directed at those collectives who find themselves in situations of exclusion from the job market must put a special emphasis on the development of the abilities and personal resources necessary to give solidity to its social and labor insertion process, strengthening the ability of self-training and crossover of the abilities acquired and developed in different domains to the work context. The focus on abilities is closely linked to the gender perspective. The methodologies directed towards developing abilities facilitate while giving value to the training carried out by the women in nonformal settings fundamentally connected with the responsibilities in caring for people and the organization of this realm. Thus, the social value of the work women do in the reproductive environment is made visible, reversing the systematic devaluation dynamic still present in the socially dominant imagery and practice. Through the methodology of abilities this training can be made visible and, above all, they acquire value as significant abilities-capabilities in the work environment. This position is the basis for the different activities and projects they have put into operation over the years. At the same time, work experience itself has given them

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important elements of reflection that they have incorporated into the content of different activities and programs, looking for new ways, new models, which has allowed them to come closer to the objectives they have brought up. -The Personal Itineraries of Insertion have as an objective to define and execute the professional project starting with one-on-one and group tutorial support, placing special emphasis on the development of the participants’ professional abilities. They are flexible itineraries that offer informational, guidance, and support activities. They are directed at improving the chances of employability. 2. Crea – University of Barcelona Research Centre Socio-labour Insertion Alliance “Anem per feina” (“Let’s get to work”) This non-profit organisation was set up in 1998. It has a global programme for the social and labour insertion of women, especially those who experience the most difficulties. The specific aims of the organisation are: - To encourage social and labour insertion through access to work with decent conditions. - To monitor the process of each woman in accordance with the situation. - To ensure continuing training and acquisition of social skills for women. - To make workers aware of the situation, their rights and duties, and the importance of paying social security contributions. - To promote the participation of women and their families. This organisation realised that women need to find a job immediately, and after that there would be the opportunity to promote training and other activities. We carried out domestic work from the beginning. Other organisations have reservations about this field. We decided to support it, and the idea that it should be regularised, and to try to make women aware of their rights, their need to claim social security, the fact their hours should be limited. Therefore, this organisation provides a labour exchange which specialises in providing domestic work and care services for the elderly. Later it incorporated businesses and other services. According to the organisation’s 2005 Report, out of 395 new job offers that were provided, 264 were successfully filled, and out of the 87 women who participated for the first time in the insertion Programme, 76 women had access to a first job. It also has a Labour Mediation Service for mediation between women and their employers, available from the first contact until the end of the working relationship.

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Through an agreement with the Catalan Institute for Women in two cities, this government institution directs all the requests they receive towards the Socio-labour insertion Alliance. Furthermore, the organisation organises a weekly women’s group in which women get to know each other, have discussions, and improve their abilities and skills. 3. AMIC: Associació d’Ajuda Mutua als Immigrants de Catalunya (Association for Mutual Assistance for Immigrants in Catalunya) This is a non-profit organisation that provides social and labour integration for immigrants, especially non-EU immigrants. It was founded in 1993, and is linked to the trade union UGT (General Workers Union). One of the services that it provides is a guidance service for migrant people that helps make their legal situation independent. The association also facilitates training in order to improve their opportunities. About 50-60 migrant women who are job hunting use this service each month. Once again, many of them come looking for domestic work because they are undocumented. Most of the women who use the service are young and have university degrees. The association encourages these women to get their degrees recognised and look for better jobs. AMIC also networks with other migrant organisations, keeps in contact with public administration and trade unions, and promotes the participation of the migrants. 4. Asociación Mujeres Latinas Sin Fronteras (Association of Latin American Women without borders) This organisation offers a framework for meeting, welcoming and providing integral training to women who have emigrated from Latin America. It also builds new social networks and helps them overcome the sadness and pain of having left their country. There is a social worker that offers advice, and there are also over 60 volunteers in the association. When women have just arrived and they are not familiar with the new context, they can enrol in a course that this association organises, which includes cooking, house cleaning, general skills and knowledge necessary for the labour market.

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The association helps provide contacts for employment, and fights for justice and competitive salaries, even for undocumented migrant women. It also provides a labour mediation service. When an employer does not accept the conditions, the women do not accept the job and the mediation service will help resolve the conflict. -Ágora Association Ágora is now working on an Integrated Project (IP) TENCompetence Project “Building The European Network for Lifelong Competence Development.” There are 15 partners proceeding from 9 countries which are mainly research centres, universities and companies. It has started on December 2005 and will end on November 2009. In the framework of the project Ágora is setting up two pilots which aim at implementing, testing and evaluating the TENCompetence infrastructure. The Ten Competences Project is a pedagogical model in their ability to support competence development and lifelong learning of adults in languages and information and communication technologies (ICT). Participants are expected to reinforce and improve their competence level in languages and ICT according to their interests and needs. They are also expected to share knowledge and view with the aim of practicing and developing new knowledge. This is one of the main areas on which Agora is focused. Agora intends to facilitate the inclusion of adults into the active fabric of current society, in which ICT and languages are of the most important in order not to be left out. The TENCompetence Infrastructure is mainly tested as a tool for developing ICT and language (English and Spanish) competences due to the intrinsic motivation to learn (some participants may also have professional re-training objectives). The target participants are people who want to share knowledge, skills, perspectives and views with others in order to practice and develop new knowledge. A first version of the pilot with the TENCompetence integrated infrastructure will be run in 2008. A second version of the pilot will be performed in 2009.

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