PANAJI: Domestic workers registered under National Domestic Workers’ Movement (NDWM) have sought recognition of their services in schedule of Minimum Wages Act 1948 and demanded constitution of domestic workers’ welfare board under Social Security Act 2008.
Addressing a rally in Panaji, Sr Escaline Miranda, state NDWM coordinator, who has been working to achieve these goals for the last several years, said the Minimum Wages Act was proclaimed in Geneva convention but in Goa it is not getting recognition. She claimed that without proper laws, the workers are not entitled to basic benefits like medicines, protection to their families and education to children, besides social security. She said that there is no reason why Goa cannot pass the law as even 11 states have already done so.
Sabina Martins of Bailancho Ekvott, while pressing for the implementation of the law in the state, said that the workers can then avail of benefits like insurance, medical, bonus, PF and others. She demanded inclusion of domestic workers in the schedule of Minimum Wages Act 1948 in Goa which was recognised by the ILO so that they can get benefits of fixed salary, medical expenditure, leave, holidays, as per the law.
The NDWM has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Governor Mridula Sinha demanding labour rights for domestic workers and, thereby, dignity of labour.
The organisation, working for the rights of domestic workers, child domestic workers and migrant domestic workers since last 30 years, has stated that domestic workers both locals and migrants contribute to the GDP of Goa either directly or indirectly.
It has pointed out that the demand for domestic workers in Goa has increased and that there is scarcity of such persons locally. As such, there is work opportunity for women of other states in Goa as domestic workers.
NDWM also works with the central government to ensure rights of workers entering into domestic work and it had met the Union labour minister and submitted a memorandum in that regard.
It was informed that the Union labour minister has said the national policy for domestic workers would be soon moved for approval of the cabinet and the ILO has recognised that ‘domestic work is work and domestic workers are workers’ and it is observed as International Domestic Workers Day on June 16.
It was pointed out that the domestic workers both locals and migrants are not recognised as workers, and, as such, they are deprived of weekly offs, just wages, safe working conditions etc and that many domestic workers are victims of verbal, physical and sexual abuse.
To commemorate the International Domestic Workers’ Day and demand for their rights, around 300-350 domestic workers took out a silent rally. They participated in the rally holding mops, buckets in their hands and wearing aprons to spread awareness on dignity of labour.