South African Domestic Workers Union

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1985: SADWU (South African Domestic Workers Union) is founded. 1997: SADWU closes due to financial difficulties. 1998: Employment Equity Act, which prohibits discrimination in hiring practices and work standards, is passed. Domestic Workers not covered. 1999: Skills Development Act passed. Domestic Workers not covered. 2000: South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU) is founded. 2000: DWU (Domestic Workers United) is founded by Caribbean, African, and Latina domestic workers and caregivers. 2002: Unemployment Insurance Act, passed in 2000, expands to include domestic workers. 2002: Domestic Worker Sectoral Determination sets minimum wage and conditions of employment for domestic workers. 2002: Gender Monitoring Action Group is formed. 2009: SADSAWU is invited to attend the 99th Session of the ILO (International Labor Organization) Conference in Geneva. Myrtle Witbooi is elected to chair the International Domestic Network Steering Committee working toward worldwide representation and recognition for domestic workers.

SADWU and theatre

In the 1980s this union increasingly used theatre and performances as a means of conscientization.


Julian Smith, 1990

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