CCS Seminar – Why unions still matter: the case of domestic worker organizing in Maputo


Speaker: Ruth Castel-Branco

Date:      Thursday 8 November 2012

Time:      12:30-14:30

Venue:     CCS Seminar Room, 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College



As organized labour spirals into crisis, this seminar highlights one innovative example of union organizing among domestic workers in Maputo, Mozambique. Bound up in a history of colonization, domestic work has become a hallmark of modern urban living. Amidst a crumbling public care system, casualization of labour and mass entry of women into the labour force, paid domestic workers perform the reproductive and productive functions necessary to keep households running and the economy churning. Despite their importance to the household and economy at large, domestic workers have been historically undervalued, excluded from labour protections, and ignored by organized labour. This seminar explores the recent drive to formalize and organize domestic workers in Mozambique.  It argues that unions still play a pivotal role in securing worker justice, illustrates the ways in which domestic workers have challenged dominant organizing models, and in the process revitalized the labour movement.



Ruth Castel-Branco is a Mozambican researcher and labour activist, currently based at the School of the Built Environment and Development Studies. This seminar draws on her MA field work, which explored the formalization of domestic work in Maputo 

Posted on