Domestic workers protest over social security

Domestic workers, many of them out of work since the outbreak of the pandemic, protested near Civil Lines metro station on Thursday, demanding financial aid and social security benefits such as pension, help for education of their children, insurance, and maternity benefits from the government.

The protest was part of a national protest in around 20 States under the banner of National Platform for Domestic Workers, a network of over 50 unions and associations, the platform said. The group said that domestic workers were not included in the Code of Social Security, 2020, which was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier this month which means that domestic workers will not get any social security benefits from the government. “We are protesting against the anti-labour laws passed by Parliament. The Code of Wage Bill, which gives minimum wage to informal workers, does not include us. And now, we are left out in the Code of Social Security also,” said Christin Mary, national coordinator of National Domestic Workers’ Movement, which has a presence in more than 16 States, including Delhi.

“Since we are not included in both, we demand a new legislation which gives us minimum wage and also social security so that domestic workers can lead a dignified life,” she added.

The Narendra Modi-led NDA government, after coming to power in 2014, had started working to codify and simplify 44 existing labour laws into four codes.

One of the four codes, ‘Code on Social Security, 2020’, subsumed eight earlier laws, including the unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.

The 2008 Act had recognised the domestic workers and asked States to set up social welfare boards for the domestic workers. “Now the Social Security Code has replaced the 2008 act, but it has not included domestic workers, which robs us of the social security benefits,” Ms. Mary said.

Since the protesters did not take any prior permission, they were stopped by police as they were marching to the Labour Commissioner office in Civil Lines on Thursday. “Later, two of us were taken by the police to submit our demands to the Labour Commissioner office and Lt. Governor office. But we were not allowed to meet both of them,” said Kalai Selvi, a leader of domestic workers.

“I have four children and since lockdown I have no work. Our rent is ₹2,000 per month and we haven’t paid it for the past four months. Government should at least give us some work,” said Rita Devi, 37, a domestic worker, who lives in Haiderpur.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 6:38:26 PM |

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