BENGALURU: A survey conducted in Bengaluru showed that 91% of the 2,396 domestic workers spoken to, lost their salaries in April. It was conducted for in the first two weeks of May by Domestic Workers Rights Union, Bruhat Bangalore Gruhakarmika Sangha (BBGS) and Manegelasa Kaarmikara Union. Most of them worked in apartments of employees from software and multinational companies.
A report titled, “The COVID-19 pandemic and the invisible workers of the household economy”, submitted to the Labour department on Monday said, “2,180, or 91% of workers lost their salaries in April. This is despite the guidelines from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for employers to pay full wages to their employees. They were told that as the employers themselves are not working and getting less money, they don’t see the need to pay them.”
The report estimates that there are around 4 lakh domestic workers in Bengaluru, of which majority are women.
“As many as 2,084 or about 87% of the workers were told not to come for work since the lockdown in March and were not sure if and when they would be called to work again. 341 workers in the areas surveyed by BBGS and 150 workers in the areas surveyed by Manegelasa Kaarmikara Union lost their jobs entirely during the lockdown. 50% of all workers above the age of 50 lost their jobs during the lockdown,” the report added.In March, some of the employers paid them only for the number of days worked.
“Domestic workers faced discrimination by RWAs such as being told not to use the lift, stairs or common area for fear of spreading the coronavirus. Many were paid lesser during the lockdown as they could not report to work. The government is not recognising them as unorganised labourers and has not released any compensation for them as done for cab, auto drivers and others who received Rs 5,000,” said Radha, activist, Domestic Workers Rights Union.
“There was a Covid case from Ragigudda slum and other women from the slum were told not to come to work,” Radha added.