Report from a rally of Vidarbha Domestic Workers’ Union

February 21, 2013

On Feburary 20th, 2013, the Vidarbha Molkarin Sanghatana (Vidarbha Domestic Workers’ Union) organized a “road show” and public meeting in Nagpur to demand the enforcement of the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008. The Sanghatan called the rally to highlight the problems of senior domestic workers (over 60 years of age) who have been left out of enforcement calculations. Their central demands are a monthly pension, monthly ration through the PDS, travel concessions and a senior citizen shelter. Similar concerns were raised by domestic workers who deposed in a public hearing on the theme ‘Women in the Unorganised (Unprotected) Sector in the Era of Globalization’ held in New Delhi on 11th February, 2013.

The New Delhi gathering passed the following resolutions at the end of the hearing:

· A uniform law needs to be made for the welfare of domestic workers. Untill then Minimum Wages Act and other Labour laws must be applied to this category of workers too.

· A body comprising of representatives from the government and domestic workers needs to be set up to monitor their real situation.

· The minimum wages, working hours and time of remuneration should be fixed for Domestic Workers. Strict measures should be taken against those who flaunt it.

· Complete profiles of all urban workers, their employers and all organizations linked to them should be done. A government agency should be set up for this purpose.

· Other than weekly, monthly, yearly and sick leave, provisions should be made for emergency leave also for domestic workers. Pregnant workers should be given special leave of three months. All these leaves should be paid.

· Strict punishment should be given to all those employers, placement agents and police personnel who subject domestic workers to physical, sexual and other kinds of abuse.

· Other than financial aid, the government should provide other kinds of human support to those domestic workers who are crisis-struck.

· All kind of middlemen and contractors should be removed between domestic workers and their employers.

· To ensure security of livelihood, domestic workers and their families should be given insurance by the government

· Along with an annual bonus and future investment options, annual wage increase adjusted with inflation should be given to these workers.

The Shahri Mahila Kaamgar Union (affiliate of NAPM) that organized the public meeting has given a call to march with domestic workers for minimum wages at Jantar Mantar, Delhi on March 6, 2013.