One of the issues several of the WSM partners have been focusing on in Asia has been the situation of the Domestic Workers. During the previous program, they were very instrumental in campaigning for an ILO Convention on Domestic Workers, which was adopted in 2011. Now, the next step is to get governments to ratify it, and so far, only the Philippines are the only country in Asia who have done so. Even Belgium still hasn’t…

During the meeting of all India partners in July, NDWM invited all partners to show solidarity and help with the post card campaign they are conducting to pressure the India government to ratify ILC 189. Today, I received the following press release from AREDS:

The size of the unorganized sector goes on increasing but the unorganized workers are being deprived of workers rights. Government introduces many welfare schemes for them but the same government crafts many stumbling blocks to obstruct the access to the schemes.

 The plight of Domestic Workers is still worse. Unlike other workers, they are not even respected as workers on many levels. A legal minimum wage is not prescribed for them. It is mostly women that are engaged in this work. It is not easy to enroll them into trade unions because they will be fired from work if their employers learn about their trade union membership. Therefore, the fear of losing their employment opportunities assured they seldom join trade unions.

A time frame is not prescribed for their work. On many occasions they have to work beyond eight hours. Likewise, holidays are not defined for them. If they take leave of a day, often their employers fire them immediately. They carry out all household works but do not have privacy at their work places. Hence, they are very vulnerable to sexual abuses.   

If they get sick or injured, they have to meet all medical expenditures, which undoubtedly is an overburden for them with their meager income. As a result, they get caught in a web of indebtedness and suffer a lot of hardships.

In line with the National Domestic Workers’ Movement (NDWM), Karur District All Labourers’ Union (KADALU) has been working to pressure the government to draft national legislation that ensures a legal minimum wage, work hours, free and quality medical care, permanency of job and protection at work places.

Presently, NDWM has been conducting a Postcard Campaign in order to pressurize the Indian government to ratify the ILO Convention 189. Therefore, KADALU, along with the Federation of Karur District All Trade Unions, organized for two months a post card campaign in Karur district. 
As the culmination of the campaign, it organized a press meet in front of the Head Post Office in Karur on the 6th of October 2014 and posted 2.000 postcards addressed to the Office of the Indian Prime Minister. 
The following is the content of the postcard:

  • Ratify ILO Convention 189
  • Enact National Legislation for Domestic Workers

 Reporters from different media and T.V. were present during the campaign and interviewed Mr. Rajasekar, the coordinator of KADALU. About 50 people from different trade unions and and people’s movements ,workers, social activists and lawyers participated.