Pandemic leaves domestic helps high and dry

July 27, 2020 05:36 pm | Updated 05:36 pm IST


Domestic workers in Tiruchi face severe livelihood crisis as most of them are yet to be called back by their employers in view of the persisting spread of COVID 19.

According to a rough estimate by public welfare entities, there are about 10,000 domestic workers in Tiruchi alone. The workers, who mostly live in urban slums, go for domestic works in affluent and well developed residential colonies and flats in Thillai Nagar, Cantonment, Periar Nagar, Srirangam, Woraiyur, K.K. Nagar, Kattur, Kumaran Nagar, Ramalinga Nagar, Karumandapam, BHEL township and many other localities.

Depending upon the nature of works, they get monthly wages ranging from ₹ 1000 to ₹ 5000. There are also domestic helps who earn up to ₹.10,000 a month for carrying out all types of household works.

But, the spread of COVID 19 and thelockdown has dealt a severe blow to them. The employers, who fear that the domestic workers might be the carrier of the virus, refuse to employ them. Only a small section seems to attend their duties after convincing the employers that they would fully comply with social distancing norms.

“I used to go for work in four houses daily. Now, I work only in one house. It has really made my life difficult,” says Kalyani, a domestic worker in Cantonment. Most of the workers had lost their jobs suddenly. Despite seeking employment, no one was really interested. The surge in number of cases had complicated the issue, she said, adding that the workers were not sure about when they would be called back for the jobs.

S.Sridhar, State Committee member, Communist Party of India (CPI-M), Tiruchi, said that his party was in the process of evaluating the impact of lockdown on domestic workers. According to a rough estimate, nearly 60 to 70 percent of domestic workers in Tiruchi had lost their jobs. It had posed a severe livelihood crisis for them. The State government should come forward to enumerate the details of domestic workers and they should be paid ₹ 5000 a month until the situation improves, he said.

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