Salary for housewives? No way, says govt

Homemakers union to approach Kerala High Court for justice

Salary for housewives? No way, says govt

Housewives spend at least 273 minutes a day looking after their children, according to a study.

The deputy registrar of trade unions has rejected the application of the National Housewives Union which sought recognition as a trade union.  The main demand of the union was that the government should pay for the household service undertaken by women. The registrar has said that  “household work” could not be considered as a trade or industry as defined in the trade union Act.

“The government cannot be considered as the employer of a person who undertook household duties,” a communication received by the union said. 

However, union state secretary Sulochana Ramakrishnan told Deccan Herald from Kalpetta in Wayanad that the housewives union will approach the high court for justice.  “We have several court verdicts concerning destitute women and old people to support our demand. I’m sure the courts will render us justice,” she said. Quoting a study, she said that housewives spent at least 273 minutes a day looking after their children. Today, her role was not just limited to women's issues but to environment, water scarcity and other social issues. Yet housewives were insecure as they were not financially empowered. Hence they needed to be compensated with salary and oldage pension, she said.

The initiative to form a women’s trade union had begun two years ago from certain voluntary organisations primarily working amongst women in north Kerala. They included Woman’s Voice, Nisa, Kerala Sthree Vedi, Voice, Jeevana, Jeevan, Neethi Vedi and Kerala Adivasi Forum. 

V P Suhara of 'Nisa' said the union would oppose the concept of polygamy and divorce. She said that minimum wages and social security should be given to housewives.
Ramakrishnan said that the union had undertaken conventions in three taluks of Wayanad district and more would follow soon.

Interestingly, the move for a housewives union is not a new concept as such. Countries like Ukrain and Venezuela all have housewives taking matters into their own hands and forming a union. In fact, in Ukrain the menfolk can also join the union provided that they managed their own households.

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