Sundays don't mean family time for Vanamma. For thousands of women like her who work as domestic help in households across the State, no excuse is good enough for a day's leave, including running a high fever. As Renuka said, bunking work on a Sunday means a pay cut, as does reporting to work a few minutes late.

These were some of the concerns raised at a public meeting held here on Friday, organised by the Joint Action Committee of Domestic Workers. At the meeting, the workers pledged to ask for recognition as a part of which they will appeal to the Labour Commission for their enrolment as domestic workers and also ask for formal contracts for their jobs, which fall under the unorganised sector.

Geeta Menon, secretary, Domestic Workers Rights Union, said they also want the government to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, which provides domestic workers rights and benefits other workers get.

She urged the participants to continue to fight for their legal rights so that they may be “respected and judged as valued citizens”.

Manjula, secretary, of Akhila Karnataka Domestic Workers Trade Union, promised the members to immediately arrange a meeting with the Labour Commission, and get a systematic enrolment in place.

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