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India: Creation of a National Platform for a comprehensive legislation for domestic workers

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by IDWFED published Aug 30, 2012 12:00 AM
Contributors: National Platform for Domestic Workers
It has come to our notice that the MOLE has recently accepted domestic work as an employment category. Domestic workers are also meant to be included in the RSBY though several states have not implemented this. While these are commendable steps, these are all piecemeal measures that do not ensure the workers their rights as stated in the Convention. Considering the vulnerability of the sector and the unorganized nature of their work these workers will not achieve social protection unless they are covered by a Central Legislation.

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INDIA -

ADHOC COORDINATION COMMITTEE TO CALL A NATIONAL MEETING

TOWARDS THE CREATION OF A NATIONAL PLATFORM FOR A COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATION FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS

Letter of invitation by National Platform for Domestic Workers

Dear friends,

In the last few years a considerable amount of attention has been drawn to the plight of the domestic workers which has lead to the ILO Convention 189 and Recommendation 201 adopted in June 2011. Nevertheless domestic workers are yet to get the required support to ensure enactment of a Comprehensive Central Legislation to provide the Social Securities and regulated working conditions provided in the ILO Convention and Recommendations.

It has come to our notice that the MOLE has recently accepted domestic work as an employment category. Domestic workers are also meant to be included in the RSBY though several states have not implemented this. While these are commendable steps, these are all piecemeal measures that do not ensure the workers their rights as stated in the Convention. Considering the vulnerability of the sector and the unorganized nature of their work these workers will not achieve social protection unless they are covered by a Central Legislation.

Almost a decade ago press coverage on the vulnerability of tribal domestic workers and prevalence of the child labor and trafficking for domestic work led to a broad based initiative taken by the National Commission of Women to draft a Bill for the protection of domestic workers. The structure of a tripartite board to provide short term and long term Social Security and design decent working conditions got the unanimous support of about 100 delegates from over 16 States in a National consultation organized by the NCW in March, 2008. Subsequently the attention of many groups supporting the cause of domestic workers got diverted towards the process of adopting the ILO Convention and Recommendations. A group of supporters pursued the cause and organized several regional meetings and refined a few sections of the NCW proposal and resubmitted it to the NCW.

The National Advisory Council of the UPA government played an important role in ensuring the support of the government representatives in the 2nd round of discussion at the ILO to vote for the Convention and later in the developing of a National Policy on Domestic Workers which has also supported the need of a Comprehensive Legislation.

In this background it is very crucial to ensure that all those who wish to support the cause of domestic workers are united on a single platform to push for a Comprehensive Legislation so that the domestic workers are assured their rights.

In March 2012, the International Domestic Workers Network of which SEWA is a member, organized a workshop in Chennai at which several organizations of domestic workers basically in south India were present. Where as one of the important agenda items was to develop strategies to get Convention 189 ratified by the GOI, the need for a Comprehensive Legislation for domestic workers was also expressed. Hence a temporary Coordination Committee was formed to call the first meeting toward the creation of a Campaign Committee for a Comprehensive Legislation for Domestic Workers. It is to pursue this that we are herewith extending this invitation to each and all the unions and organizations of domestic workers to join this platform so that we can develop our agenda to work towards getting a Comprehensive Legislation for Domestic Workers.

Some points on the agenda could be:

  • to examine the two proposals of the NCW and DWRC in the light of ILO Convention and Recommendation.
  • to examine the National Policy on Domestic Workers and plan a united effort towards the enactment of a Comprehensive Central Legislation for Domestic Workers.
  • to ensure that the supports of employers organization, all Central Trade Unions, and Political Parties for a smooth enactment in both the Houses of Parliament.

In order to develop the Campaign we propose the following:

  1. When you receive this letter kindly send it to as many domestic workers organizations and their supporters that you know.
  2. If you wish to be a member in this process, kindly write back with your details and express your willingness to participate.

We will then create an internet group on face book so that we can interact through the internet for the initial phase and will then decide when and how to meet to strategically move ahead.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Anita Juneja------Fr. Chetan------Geetha R.-------Medha Thatte-------Nalini Nayak

Anita Juneja, Delhi Domestic Workers Union 09891264064, 09868815915
Fr. Chetan, National Domestic Workers Movement09534040402
Geetha R.
, Unorganised Workers Federation Chennai 09895077961
Medha Thatte, Pune Sahar Molkarni Sanghatana 09422530186
Nalini Nayak, SEWA 09895077961

Source: National Platform for Domestic Workers

Story Type: News

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