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Report/Press release

From Private Homes to Public Action: 10 Years of the Domestic Workers Action Group



Responsible institution

Domestic Workers Action Group (DWAG)

Full text

We're celebrating 10 years of the Domestic Workers Action Group. Read our 10 Years, 10 highlights list below, and click the picture above (or click HERE) to watch the brand-new film tracking the journey of those first 10 years.

10 Years, 10 Highlights

The achievements of the Domestic Workers Action Group could fill a book: DWAG has changed national policy and transformed individual lives by organising, protesting and campaigning, as well as working with Government representatives, trade unions, State bodies and national and international organisations – and above all, by supporting each other through private troubles and collective challenges.

1. 2003: a small group of domestic workers meets in MRCI offices one Sunday evening, forming the Domestic Workers Action Group. By 2013, well over 300 domestic workers are active members of DWAG.

2. Successful lobbying of the Government ensures the Employment Equality Act is extended in 2004 to include employment in private homes.

3. Cases supported through the courts by DWAG have resulted in tens of thousands of euro in back pay being paid to individual domestic workers.

4. In response to campaigning by DWAG, SIPTU and ICTU, in 2007 the Government introduces a Code of Practice to protect the employment rights of domestic workers.

5. 2010: The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) recognises private homes as places of work and begins inspections in private homes. DWAG’s working relationship with NERA continues to this day.

6. After a series of meetings, protests and high-profile cases, DWAG has ensured that protecting domestic workers in diplomatic households is finally on the agenda of the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

7. In 2012, a DWAG & MRCI study of au pair working conditions makes headlines, sparking a national debate on employment rights for au pairs.

8. 2013: After years of collaboration with trade unions, DWAG successfully develops a formal working relationship with SIPTU, Ireland’s largest trade union.

9. From the beautiful Blurred Boundaries quilt made in 2006 to the dynamic Soul Workers Sessions performed in 2012, creativity and artistic skill has always been at the heart of DWAG’s work.

10. Last Christmas, DWAG staged an action outside the Dept of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, calling on the Minister to give domestic workers the gift of ratification of the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. We have reason to believe we’ll be celebrating the fruits of this action soon…

The fight for full rights and protections for domestic workers continues. For more on DWAG's work, click HERE.

File Attachments


Economic sectors

Occupations in services - Domestic work and Home child care providers

Content types

Support initiatives

Target groups

(Im)migrants workers and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

Regional relevance