Many foreign nationals who are employed as domestic workers in South Africa are underpaid and coerced into working long hours‚ according to unionists.
In extreme cases‚ they even have their identity documents withheld‚ according to Sizwe Pamla‚ national spokesperson for the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
The Cosatu-aligned SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (Sadsawu) on Tuesday encouraged cleaners‚ including foreigners‚ to resist exploitation by their employers.
“(It is common for) employers looking for domestic workers to ask the person if she is a South African. If she is a South African‚ they don’t take her. They say South Africans think that they are smart. These employers want migrant workers‚ not because they love them‚ but because they will be able to pay a low wage‚” said the union’s assistant general secretary‚ Eunice Dladla.
She said domestic workers from other parts of the continent were afraid to seek help‚ but the union was willing to assist them.