CHENNAI: Ahead of the International Domestic Workers Day on Saturday, ActionAid and the National Domestic Workers Movement organised an event for domestic workers in Perumbakkam on Thursday to discuss the challenges they faced, in addition to putting forth demands with regard to minimum wage and good working conditions.
About 100 women attended the event and some even brought their children along. There were 30 domestic workers who were given a certificate for successfully completing a 10-day housekeeping course in Apollo FirstMed Hospital. Some are even expected to gain employment at the hospital. However, others have decided against it as the distance is too much from their residence to the hospital.
“You must understand how to make the most of the opportunities you have,” said Dr. Kannagi Packianathan, chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women. “Take ownership and make Perumbakkam a beautiful township by ensuring that no one litters the place, that everyone practises segregation of waste and also plants trees. Try and collect things like plastic bottles and so on which can be sold and thereby you can have a chance to earn some more money. Form self-help groups and utilise the funds allotted for the same and make your officials accountable.”
Some of the demands put forth at the event included making the Tamil Nadu government fix the minimum wage at ` 75 per hour. They said the State government should urge the Centre to sign the Geneva International Labour conference and further put in place a law for the protection and welfare of the domestic workers.