Covid-19: Pay domestic workers for lockdown period, employers requested
Dimapur, April 3 (EMN): The 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the Covid-19 outbreak and the uncertainties associated with the crisis has come as a big blow to all informal workers, including domestic workers who live from hand-to-mouth through daily wages.
The National Committee of Domestic Workers, SEWA Union, stated this through a press release issued by general secretary of SEWA Nagaland on Friday.
“The migrant workers feel the most trapped- unable to go home and unable to send money home to their families. The social ostracism is also a factor of concern even for the workers who work in the essential services – who are treated with suspicion and even aggression for fear of spreading infection,” the press release read.
The majority of domestic workers has also been told to stay at home in wake of the coronavirus outbreak because of the possibility of being infected with the virus, it said.
“Unlike other informal workers, the domestic workers have long work relationships with their employers. But being covered by no regulatory norms, they can be easily dismissed according to the whims of the employers. They also have no other social security or rights. Most of these workers are women who in many cases are the sole breadwinners of the family,” it stated.
According to the press release, some employers were very kind towards domestic workers, allowing them to work by providing them with face masks, hand sanitisers etc., while some offered salaries till March 31. While some workers couldn’t work due to lack of public transport, the fear and distress among those working in this unorganised sector is becoming palpable after the lockdown was extended to April 15, it added.
“Even the noon meal that children received in schools or the anganwadis is no longer available. Hence, more hungry mouths to feed,” it stated.
Stating that it will take time for government welfare schemes to be rolled out, it said, the distress signals could become social threat if there is no cash to spend for their needs.
“According to conservative figures, there are over 40 lakh domestic workers in the country, all of whom have employers and have provided service to keep the social fabric functioning all these years. It is only normal that the employers rise up to the occasion and agree to pay the workers their wages for these days when they are obliged to remain at home,” the press release read.
“This appeal comes from the National Committee of Domestic Workers of SEWA which is a central trade union of workers in the informal sector in India. As days go by, insecurity will convert into aggression which is the responsibility of all to manage and control. Hence extending this small gesture will be a way to co-operate with this global crisis by at least mitigating the woes of a small section of informal workers,” it added.