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Making the Woman WorkerPrecarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919-2019$
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Eileen Boris

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190874629

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190874629.001.0001

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(p.155) 5 Outwork
Making the Woman Worker

Eileen Boris

Oxford University Press

This chapter charts the road to the Home Work Convention, 1996 (No. 177), whose passage paved the way for “excluded” workers to press for rights and recognition at the ILO. Changes in the global economy led international union federations and ILO sectorial meetings to support a convention. Efforts of the Programme on Rural Women also proved crucial. The Self Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) led by Ela Bhatt became the most important group organizing home-based workers and documenting their lives. It lobbied for international redress as a strategy to enact and enforce national measures. However, the campaign by an emerging transnational network of women in HomeNet International required amplification by the labor federations. Research alone was insufficient to gain the attention of the Governing Body or win at the International Labour Conference, though lack of statistics served as an excuse for inaction. Support by the Workers’ group proved necessary, galvanized by Dan Gallin of the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF). Conflicts over who was an employee and rejection by the entire Employer’s group revealed cracks in the ILO’s structure.

Keywords:   industrial home work, home-based labor, SEWA, IUF, Home Work Convention, International Textile, Garment, and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF)

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