Rama Krishna Sangem
Domestic workers are seeking better working conditions and protection to their lives, said Brother Varghese Theckanath, director of Montfort Social Institute (MSI), Ramanthapur, Hyderabad on June 15, Thursday. He was speaking at a function held at MSI premises on the occasion of International Domestic Workers Day on the day. Varghese is also secretary of national working people’s coalition.
This coalition comprises 300 independent trade unions of unorganized workers in the country. According to Varghese, there are around 5 lakh domestic workers in Hyderabad city and a total of around 10 lakh in entire Telangana. There are different kinds of domestic workers, based on their nature of working. MSI led by Br Varghese is planning to prepare of a charter of demands of domestic workers and present it to major political parties soon.
“We are planning to ask these political parties to include the demands of domestic workers in their election manifestos as we go to assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the coming one year,” Br Varghese told “Excel India”. Till now,the interests of domestic workers are not cared by any political parties or governments as their interests are not properly represented.
5 Demands of domestic workers
MSI proposed the following 5 demands of domestic workers: 1. Enacting a comprehensive law to cover interests of all domestic workers, 2. Recognizing their work, treating homes as work place so that they get respectable treatment, 3, Giving all labour benefits like ESI, medical cover etc, 4. Revising minimum wages in tune with present day inflation and 5. Extending social benefits like houses for domestic workers.
Thursday meeting at MSI premises was attended by B Shailaja, director of department of persons with disabilities, Sajaya Kakarla, social activist and others. Br Varghese said that as India is a signatory to International Labour Organization convention 189 on Decent work for domestic workers, it is imperative on the government to take steps to safeguard their interests and treat them on par with other regular organised workforce.