Beyond Trafficking and Slavery

Voices from the supply chain: an interview

BTS speaks with Elizabeth Nzilani Peter, an employee of a Kenyan coffee cooperative, on the need to recognise homeworkers as part of the formal labour force.

Elizabeth Nzilani Peter
27 July 2016

Elizabeth Nzilani Peter

ENP: My name is Elizabeth Nzilani Peter and I am from Kenya. I work in a coffee cooperative. It’s a multi-sectoral cooperative with 83 cooperative societies and 26 craft groups. I came to the 2016 International Labour Conference to promote decent work for home workers.

BTS: Thank you Elizabeth. Can you tell us a little about the working conditions for the people you represent in Kenya?

ENP: Working conditions in Kenya are not as good as working conditions in western countries, and many people work from home. Most workers don’t enjoy basic utilities like water or electricity, and they do their ‘home work’ at the same time as their ordinary daily chores.

BTS: So what would make home work decent for workers in Kenya?

ENP: First of all, they need recognition and visibility on the part of trade unions and the government. As we speak, homeworkers don’t have support from the government or from trade unions and there is no clear distinction between domestic workers and homeworkers in Kenya. So having homeworkers included as a formal part of the workforce and the supply chain workforce in particular would be very good. Secondly, social protection and social rights would be critical. Also there is the issue of the minimum wage, because most homeworkers are working on piece rates.

BTS: Could you tell us then why a convention on decent work in supply chains would be so important for homeworkers?

ENP: A convention would be important because at the end of the day it would mean that homeworkers can enjoy the same rights as any other worker. Like factory workers, they would be able to get social protection, be formally recognised as part of the supply chain, and ultimately have their livelihoods improved.

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