Izwi Domestic Worker Alliance is a network of domestic workers in Johannesburg. We provide:
Izwi was started by a group of domestic workers who wanted to change the way they are treated by employers, and by society in general.
In order to break down the isolation and vulnerability that domestic workers face, we are building a support network of individual workers, neighbourhood groups, and partner organisations. A steering committee, elected from amongst the members, oversees Izwi's growth and direction. Read on to see what Izwi has done so far.
Domestic workers number 1.3 million women (and about 50,000 men) in South Africa -- equivalent to agriculture and mining labour combined. However, they are strikingly absent from labour movements and media coverage.
Employed by individuals in private homes, their work arrangements are often precarious and informal, leaving them isolated and vulnerable to abuse.
Exploitation ranges from poor working conditions, illegal hours, and below-minimum wages, through to physical, verbal, sexual and racial abuse — all behind closed doors of private residences, which are generally immune to regulatory oversight.
Globally, there is a growing movement to shed light on abuse and to professionalise the domestic worker industry. In South Africa, Izwi and its partners are standing with domestic workers so that their voices will be heard.
Izwi to date
Since its launch in 2018, Izwi has:
Supported over 200 individual cases of mistreated workers.
Developed multiple active What’s App groups to field questions and mobilise around issues.
Launched 10 neighbourhood groups that provide peer support, trainings, and social activities.
Hosted monthly meetings to respond to individual concerns, and to discuss growth and advocacy issues
Triggered media coverage on television, radio, and print news in regards to a case of physical assault and broader domestic worker issues.
Supported the development of the SERI domestic workers’ rights guide.
Coordinated a civil society campaign against the exclusion of domestic, farm and EPWP workers from the national minimum wage.
Some of our core partners include:
Casual Workers Advice Office
Socio-Economic Rights Initiative (SERI-SA)
South African Domestic and Service Allied Workers
United Domestic Workers of South Africa (UDWOSA)
Sexual Harrassment Education Project
Simunye Women Workers Forum
Goethe Institute, South Africa