Charities and unions back exploited home staff as they hand in petition to reinstate defunct overseas domestic worker visa in Modern Slavery Bill
Migrant domestic workers exposed to slave conditions by a Con-Dem clampdown on working visas will descend on Downing Street today.
A petition of thousands of names will be handed in at the residence of posh Prime Minister David Cameron — who employs a foreign nanny to care for his kids.
Workers are demanding the reinstatement of rights guaranteed by the overseas domestic worker visa, which was axed in April 2012 by the Tories.
They now face the tied domestic worker visa’s draconian rules, which charities and unions warn leaves workers open to being locked away as modern-day slaves.
Justice 4 Domestic Workers chairwoman Marissa Begonia said the government has committed an “unforgivable crime.”
“This government must end the abuse, exploitation and slavery of the already vulnerable migrant domestic workers,” she said.
“It’s time to restore domestic workers’ rights.”
Under the Tory visa, workers are “tied” to the employer who brings them to Britain. That, workers say, can stop them claiming employment rights they are entitled to because they face deportation if they lose favour with their boss.
Justice 4 Domestic Workers reports on its website that one unnamed woman suffered regular rape ordeals at the hands of her employer. Another woman said her boss would poke her in the eyes and tell her not to cry because “if I cry, police will catch me.”
Domestic workers, backed by the Unite union, brought their plight from behind closed doors and onto the streets in a demonstration outside Parliament yesterday afternoon.
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland was clear the government has “reintroduced modern-day slavery.”
She said: “It had taken many years of campaigning to get some of the most vulnerable workers in our society the same rights and privileges that everyone should be able to count on, but this government has demolished these vital achievements.”
Mr Cameron’s government was also charged with hypocrisy by migrant domestic workers’ charity Kalayaan.
Advocate Kate Roberts pointed out that the government claims it is committed to tackling slavery in Britain but has rejected the recommendations of MPs drafting its Modern Slavery Bill to reinstate the original visa terms.