Domestic workers demand ‘living wage’

DMK member in Rajya Sabha promises to raise the matter on the floor of Parliament

Published - December 14, 2017 12:29 am IST - CHENNAI

The National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM), in collaboration with Actionaid, put forth a demand on behalf of domestic workers to provide a living wage at a state-level convention here on Wednesday. A living wage is defined as a wage that is high enough to maintain a normal standard of living, as contrasted with a minimum wage, which is the lowest wage as per the law.

Pushpa, a domestic worker and member of NDWM, shared her ordeal when it came to negotiating wages. “I used to do domestic work with my mother from the age of 7. My mother, who is still engaged in domestic work, earns only ₹600 per house even now. I went and negotiated with her employer to hike the wages; it yielded no result. I also work in three houses and the wages I receive are inadequate for me to take care of my family. There is also no job security for domestic workers,” she said.

DMK MP in Rajya Sabha T.K.S. Elangovan rued that though Indians had even launched advanced space satellites, when it came to treating their domestic help with dignity, they hadn’t made much progress. “I will certainly raise the issue of ensuring a living wage for domestic workers in Parliament,” he said, adding that he could even see if a private member’s Bill could be introduced.

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