“There is no collective consciousness among the domestic workers in Mangalore,” said Geetha Menon, Secretary, Stree Jagruti Samithi, a Bangalore-based women's organisation, that works towards providing them dignity, recognition, and social security.

Speaking to reporters at an event for domestic workers, she said that many of them thought that it was an individual relationship, between them and the employer.

Underlining the need for awareness, she said that the sector had remained “totally unrecognised” and had been outside the purview of legislation and social security. Domestic workers were a productive part of the economy and indirectly contributed to the GDP as their employers were only able to work because of their efforts, she said.

Ms. Menon said the organisation had taken up the task of issuing identity cards to domestic workers till the Department of Labour issued the cards to them.

Domestic workers of the city attended the first collective programme a few days ago, where 58 of them got identity cards that said they were members of the Domestic Workers Rights’ Union (DWRU), organised by the domestic workers themselves and for which the samiti was a support group.

Strength of unity

Ms. Menon said that being a part of the union strengthened them while making demands from the government. At present, there was no registration or record of domestic workers and the issuing of identity cards created a database.

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