INDIA: Domestic workers demand union for protection of rights

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[GUWAHATI, 8 January 2012] - The domestic workers of the city have demanded a separate union that would look after their rights and privileges and also work towards their uplift, besides raising a voice against the injustice meted out to them on a regular basis.

City-based NGO Centre for Development Initiative, working towards the protection of the rights and privileges of domestic workers all across the state, has demanded that such workers should be included in the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace bill 2010. The NGO also wants India to ratify the ILO convention on 'Decent work for domestic workers', the inclusion of domestic workers in the schedule of the Minimum Wages Act 1948, their enrolment in the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna and also issuance of BPL cards for their families.

The NGO has been working for adult, migrant and child domestic workers and the problems of these workers are dealt with separately. The organisation has also submitted a memorandum stating these demands to chief minister Tarun Gogoi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year.

Krishna Rabha, one of the members of the NGO, said, "There are more than 3,000 registered domestic workers in the city while there might be many more who are not registered or don't even know about the organisation yet."

Sister Teresa Joseph, another member of Centre for Development Initiative, said, "The domestic workers' movement has begun in 27 states and in Assam, it started in 2007 in Udalguri. The workers are being given skill development training."

Sexual harassment, increment in salary and paying salary on time are some of the major issues that need to be handled immediately because a lot of domestic workers [are] complaining of being denied the wages that are promised to them. Besides, most of them are not entitled to any leave even if they or their family members are not well or in case of any other contingencies. Sumitra Mir, a domestic worker from the city, said, "We don't have any provision of salary increment every year and if we take leave our salary is deducted. Sometimes we have to tolerate the indecent behavior of our employers but we have nowhere to go and complain. So, we want the government to hear our plight and do something for us."

 

Further Information: 

pdf: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-08/guwahati/30604422...

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