Empowering Domestic Workers
In a newly published article, ‘Empowering Domestic Workers: A Critical Analysis of the Belgian Service Voucher System’ in Societies, Sarah Mousaid, Kim Bosmans and Christophe Vanroelen study how the employment relationship with the company affects the domestics’ perceived power to bargain with customers about determinants of the work quality.
Domestic cleaners lack bargaining power, which can prevent them from being in control of their work quality. The ‘service voucher system’ is expected to change the power position of domestics. This is expected because the system is formalized by the Belgian government and organized through a triangular employment relationship between the domestic, the service voucher company (the employer), and the customers. This study draws on 42 interviews with immigrant and native service voucher cleaners. It probes into how the employment relationship with the company affects the domestics’ perceived power to bargain with customers about determinants of the work quality. Based on the results, policy recommendations are made to further empower domestic cleaners in the relationship with their customers and to help them safeguard their work quality.