Thursday, 21 June 2012

"human chain" of domestic workers in India

‘No longer servants, but workers’ is the essence of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 189, the ratification of which was sought by domestic workers who organised a ‘human chain’ in front of the Secretariat on Friday. 

The 100th ILO Conference had adopted a resolution regarding decent work for domestic workers. The ‘human chain’ organised by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) demanded that the government should implement the provisions ratified by the convention. 

The association said that no minimum wages were offered to them, there were no fixed work hours, and they were denied respect and dignity from their employers. “Seven years ago, I was paid just Rs.40 a day, when I worked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Now it has gone up to Rs.130. This is still not enough, as I have a 10-year-old son to look after on my own,” said Vasantha, a worker. 

The ‘human chain’ stretched from Palayam to Statue. SEWA president Sunita S.L and secretary Sonia George were present. Former Forest Minister Benoy Viswom and Jamila Prakasam, MLA, addressed the gathering. All spoke of the need to ratify the convention and subsequently adopt laws to ensure better livelihood for domestic workers. The workers demanded Rs.200 as minimum wage. They also wanted a board to be constituted to study their problems.

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