Being a domestic worker is a necessary risk to survive in Nairobi when your first class honors cannot even put you through a decent job even a low paying company. It comes with its fair share of unexplained terms that will all too often work in the interest of the employer. From unclear terms of employment, unregistered in any book, and excluded from the scope of labor legislation, the list trickles down to mistreatment and God knows what.
Private households being their areas source of daily bread, domestic workers are often cleaning the house, cooking, washing and ironing clothes, taking care of children, or elderly or sick members of a family, gardening, guarding the house, driving for the family, and even taking care of household pets.
No one has been giving shit about domestic workers in a while until the Registrar of Trade Unions got a directive to register the National Union of Domestic Workers. Members of the union led by Paul Khamasi and 13 others filed the case last year accusing the registrar of declining their application on grounds that the sector was already crowded with such unions.
However, Registrar E.N Gicheha stated that the sector was already represented by the Kenya Union of Domestic Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha Workers), which represents persons employed or engaged as subordinates in private homes, houses, flats, apartments, clubs, guest houses, children homes and other similar projects providing cleaning services, security and social services
Under Justice Matthews Nduma ruling, the new National Union of Domestic Workers should restrict its representation to workers employed in private homes and not in commercial or public establishments whether designated as homes or otherwise to ensure that there is no interference with other unions working in the sector.
Despite there being three unions active in the domestic workers’ sector, the proposed union will help voice the concerns of domestic workers more directly and effectively, unlike when their concerns have to be addressed together with unnecessary concerns of others in different sectors.