89% domestic workers in Nagaland don’t get off days: Survey

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Dimapur, June 4: Eighty-nine per cent of all the domestic workers in Nagaland don’t get off days even on weekends and though 31% of them work for more than more than 9 hours in a day, only 14% receive a monthly salary of more than Rs 6,000. This was revealed in a survey conducted by All Nagaland Domestic Workers Union (ANDWU).
The study was done over a period of five years and involved 1900 domestic works from different parts of the state. The data of the study was made public on Tuesday here at ACID Hall, Lake View Colony in the presence of media fraternity.
ANDWU, which has only been recently recognized as a union after fighting for almost a decade, still is pursuing some of its earliest demands from the Government of Nagaland which are: recognition of domestic work as work and Inclusion of domestic workers in the schedule of employment of minimum wages act (Nagaland).
The union is also demanding zero tolerance on gender based violence for domestic workers in the world of work.
Presenting the details of the survey, Sr. Pramila Lobo, Coordinator, National Domestic Worker Movement (NDWM) revealed that 6% of the total respondents expressed that their daily wage is less than Rs. 50 and 42% of the domestic workers daily wage is Rs. 51 to 100, 39% of the domestic workers daily wage is 101 to 150, 13% of the domestic workers daily wage is above Rs.150.
Adv. Limanochet and legal advisor of ANDWA said since the domestic workers in the state are not recognized as workers, fixing a minimum wage is not possible and therefore they are exploited, and thus the union has been asking for the recognition of the workers as workers, which will facilitate them to come under established labour laws, thereby save them from being exploited.
The study also revealed that only 1% of the domestic workers expressed that they get any form of medical aid from their employers and instead 12% complained that they are forced to work when sick. 85% of them face verbal abuses if there is a theft, things get misplaced, or anything goes wrong in general. 73% of them don’t get paid on time and 54% repressed that their wage is deducted for silly reasons. Further, an astounding 43% of them expressed that they do not get any leave during death or any emergency situation in the families.
Sr. Lobo said that the employers have no one to question in the absence of recognition of the workers as there is no specific law to protect them.
“The recent report of a minor girl, who worked as a domestic worker, being reportedly assaulted by her Kohima-based employer and the domestic worker who jumped from the building in Dimapur are only a tip of the iceberg which came in to light, there are many instances where domestic workers have faced such situations but have gone unreported. The sad thing is that many migrants make use of the Local Naga people to threaten, beat and abuse another weaker migrants for they are illiterate and do not know how to follow the proper procedure of the legal laws like filing an FIR, applying for free medical aid through district hospital or applying for free legal aid services through District Legal Services Authority,” she said.
She said that the state government registering the All Nagaland Domestic Workers Union on November 28 last year was a step closer towards the welfare of its members, but more needs to be done to ensure that this vulnerable section of society enjoy basic human rights and social security.
The study also found that 58% of the total respondents are migrants from Assam, Manipur, Tripura, U.P, Bihar and West Bengal. The other 42 % of the remaining respondents comprises the local residents and indigenous migrants, particularly from Eastern Nagaland. 65% chose to be a domestic work as it is easily available, 53% admitted that since they lack adequate skills, they chose this. 51% got involved due to their economic backwardness, and 32% because of the poor education.
ANDWU is planning to reach out to different sections of the society to create awareness about the plight of the domestic workers in the state and on June 15, the union will be observing International Domestic Workers Day, a day ahead of the actual day, where it is planning to involve the churches of the state.
(Page News Service)