Domestic workers should utilise the various facilities extended by the State government to ensure that their children received education, stressed Labour Minister Nilofer Kafeel here on Saturday. She was addressing a meet organised by National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) to mark the 9th International Domestic Workers Day.
Speaking at the function, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) president and Lok Sabha member Thol Thirumavalavan said the old age pension for domestic workers should be raised to Rs 5,000 a month. At present, this is Rs 1,000, while the domestic workers are demanding it to be increased to around Rs 3,000 a month.
According to Justice AD Jagadish Chandira of the Madras High Court, the State should celebrate a day dedicated to domestic workers, like celebrating Mother’s Day and Women’s Day. The State Government should provide these workers a holiday on that day, urged the judge.
Josephine Valarmathi, State co-ordinator of NDWM emphasised on five major demands of the domestic workers which includes hiking the minimum wage from the present 30 per hour to Rs 60 per hour and enact a separate Central law for the welfare of domestic labourers. The demands also sought India to be a part of ‘Convention 189’ that offers protection and rights to all domestic workers. “As many as 28 countries have already signed the convention, which protects the rights of domestic workers. India should also sign this pact soon,” said Valarmathi.
The meeting also witnessed many domestic workers speaking about the hardships they faced. One of them, Pushpa, said, “We are sometimes falsely accused as thieves and we do not have a law to protect us. We are even made to work for more than 12 hours a day and are paid the wages which is just a pittance when compared to the soaring price rise.”