Domestic helps trade union submit demands to WB govt

Members of the trade union of domestic helps holding a meeting in Kolkata. DH Photo

For the first time a trade union of domestic helps in West Bengal, the only one in the state, has submitted a charter of demands to both the ruling and Opposition parties to ensure that their demands are raised in the state Assembly.

 
Speaking to DH, Anita Mistri, the president of the trade union Paschimbanga Griha Paricharika Samity (PGPS) said that even as there are social security schemes for workers of the unorganised sectors, no such facility exists for the domestic helps in Bengal. PGPS which was granted trade union status in June currently has about 7,000 members in the state. 
 
“We have submitted our 10-point charter of demands not only to the MLAs of the ruling Trinamool Congress (9TMC) but also to CPM and urged them to raise the issue in the Assembly,” said Mistry. 
 
The demands include fixation of minimum wage for domestic help, a welfare board to address their grievances and their inclusion into government’s social security scheme. 
 
Narrating the ordeal often faced by domestic helps, who mostly come to work in Kolkata from adjoining districts of North and South 24 Paraganas, Tapashi Moira said that in several cases we have found that there is not even proper facility of toilets for domestic helps at their workplaces. 
 
Their ordeal is not just limited to lack of sanitation facilities. These domestic helps are often fired by their employers without any notice and sometimes even denied from getting their due salary. 
 
“ We do not have any place to go and lodge a complaint. Since there is no written contract for our employment,” said Moira.
 
“ Earlier this week my employer told me that he no longer wants me to work for him as I am a member of the trade union. Now how will I sustain my family of three? My husband is also unemployed,” said Molina Majhi, a domestic help.
 
Describing the demands raised by PGPS as “justified” senior CPM MLA and Leader of the Left Legislative party in the state Assembly Sujan Chakraborty said, “We will soon raise the issue in the Assembly. I will also write to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard.”

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Domestic helps trade union submit demands to WB govt

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