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In India, domestic workers hold nation-wide protest against exclusion by new labour codes

September 24, 2020

The National Platform of Domestic Workers (NPDW) protested all over India against the exclusion of domestic workers as workers and to any rights to social security.


On September 24th, 2020, the members of the National Platform of Domestic Workers (NPDW) protested all over the country – Delhi, Lucknow, Almora, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, and several districts in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Nagaland, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Observing the protocols of the lockdown period, hundreds of workers but in small groups protested in front of different Central Government offices.

The NPDW is an alliance of central trade unions and numerous smaller unions and member-based organizations that has grown since 2011 after the Government of India was signatory to the ILO Convention 189 – Rights for Domestic Workers. The NPDW has been demanding ratification of C 189 and the creation of Comprehensive Legislation for the regulation of work and rights of domestic workers. This is one of the largest growing sectors of workers today the majority of whom are women and who provide indispensable services to the society.

In the light of the new labour codes hurriedly passed by the Government, the NPDW takes objection to the fact that the domestic workers have been excluded from any rights to social security and neither is the home of an employer of a domestic worker recognised as a workplace.

This section of workers has been very badly affected because of restrictions and lack of public transport during the pandemic. They have even been discriminated against as carriers of disease. Several of them did not get their wages for the month of March when the lockdown was suddenly announced. But there have also been some employers who reached out to the workers. Nevertheless, for these 5 months that have followed not even 30% of these workers have been employed and they are in dire straits.

The demands of the NPDWs are the following:

  1. Comprehensive legislation for domestic workers
  2. Transfer of cash to vulnerable domestic workers as mandated by the Nagtional Disaster Management Act
  3. Implementation of and Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Letters were submitted to Letter to the Prime MinisterMembers of the Parliament and the Central Trade Unions.

Nalini Nayak – SEWA
National Platform of Domestic Workers (NPDW)

Source: National Platform of Domestic Workers (NPDW)