Model law for sector sought

Domestic workers across the State, organised under the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), would go on a one-day strike on Friday as part of a campaign on the problems being confronted by them.

Although domestic work employed the largest number of women in the unorganised sector, there was no protection for them as it had not been recognised by most State governments as labour. Organisations of domestic workers have been trying to get recognition for domestic work as a segment of labour.

Following prolonged struggles, the State government had notified minimum wage rates for the sector this year. However, a model law that would protect the interests of domestic workers was yet to become a reality and the several demands of those in the sector were yet to be heard, Soniya George, SEWA State secretary, and Sally Michael, State coordinator, National Domestic Workers' Movement, told at a news conference here on Thursday.

As a prelude to the National Domestic Workers' Day observances on January 9, domestic workers in Kerala would strike work on January 7 and hold demonstrations and other programmes in different parts of the State to draw public and government attention to their problems.

Besides the formulation of a model law, the demands being put forward by various organisations of domestic workers include formation of a board to take up welfare activities for domestic workers, creation of a mechanism to streamline domestic work, including steps for registration of employers, and creation of a mechanism to redress the grievances of domestic workers under the welfare board and inclusion of women domestic workers in the Bill to prevent sexual assault on women.

A convention being held in the State capital on Friday as part of the agitation would be inaugurated by CPI State secretary C.K. Chandrappan. It will be addressed by leaders of various unions of domestic workers and political parties, they said.


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