Representational image. (PTI)
Hyderabad: As the world marks International Domestic Workers’ Day on Tuesday, the year has not at all been good for these workers so far. The lockdown due to spread of COVID-19 saw many households not utilising their services at all.
While this is so, the Indian government has remained sluggish in implementing their right to minimum wage, weekly offs, health protection, maternity benefits, legal security and pensions since 2010.
According to Telangana Domestic Workers’ Union (TDWU), there are an estimated 76 lakh domestic workers in the country, about 10 lakh in Telangana state and four to five lakh in Hyderabad. Among them are full-time, part-time, and live-in workers, many of them from the districts or other states. Most of the domestic workers in India are women.
Following intense pressure from women’s organisations the world over, the International Labour Organisation at its 100th international conference at Geneva in 2011, with participants from 193 countries, decided to mark June 16 as the International Domestic Workers' Day.
TDWU honorary secretary Sr Lissy Joseph said the government was not been keen on implementing laws that give protection to domestic workers. This shows the approach of various governments towards women.
She pointed out that children have joined the ranks of domestic workers, and they face considerable harassment. A minor from East Godavari district, who was working in a house as a full-time domestic help, committed suicide on June 1 under suspicious circumstances under the limits of Bachupally police station, Sr Lissy pointed out.
A Vijay Lakshmi, who works closely with domestic workers in Ambedkarnagar and Dammaiguda of Hyderabad, said there are around 5,000 domestic workers in the 30 bastis of the two areas.
"If something is missing from the house, these workers come under suspicion and are questioned or sent to police station. Only later, they realise that family members themselves have misplaced the missing things. There is no job security for them. If they fall sick or have to visit their native place, they are removed from work," Vijay Lakshmi stated.