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Domestic workers in Nagaland demand fixation of minimum wages

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 20: The National Platform for Domestic Workers (NPDW) has demanded recognition and fixation of minimum wages for domestic workers in Nagaland.
Director, Assisi Centre for Integrated Development, Sister Pramila Lobo stated that despite their important role in every households, domestic workers are underpaid, exploited, invisible in the society and experience deplorable conditions as workers.
She said there is no specific contract based work, working hours, wage leave facilities, medical benefits and all these benefits totally depend upon the mercy of employers.
They are denied of fair wage and minimum wage because in Nagaland Domestic workers are not included in the schedule employment and minimum wage Act even today, she added.
The NPDW has demanded for a legislation for domestic workers which will consider the homes they work in as workplaces, ensure minimum wage and social security benefits like pension.
The Nagaland Region NDWM has asked the Government as how long do the domestic workers need to wait to get what is belonging to them.
The NDWM demanded a comprehensive law for informal workers with specific cover for the domestic workers, or those who work for wages in someone else’s home and such a home should be considered a workplace.
It demanded Freedom of Association with compulsory recognition guaranteed through secret ballot followed by the right to collective bargaining which places an obligation on the relevant agency be it private, quasi government, or government to sit with the recognised trade union and deal with the issues of the domestic workers to sort out grievances, settle disputes and enter into collective bargaining settlements where necessary.
It also demanded a guaranteed minimum wage calculated on the basis of the 15th Indian Labor Conference (ILC ) (which has determined the need based minimum wage) norms and judgements of the Supreme Court like Unichoyi vs. State of Kerala and Reptakos Brett.
Demanding appropriate Social security measures including PF, ESI and Pensions, the NDWM said that Occupational Health and Safety standards must be developed for domestic workers and reviewed periodically through Technical Committees with experts from the field. Domestic workers should have access to regular, free medical check-ups and a health card to facilitate prevention and treatment of health issues related to work, it said.
It said termination, if any, must be for reasons assigned in writing and subject to principles of natural justice and remedial measures. All other terminations should be treated as illegal and subject to reinstatement with continuity of service, full back wages and consequential benefits.
It said the working day should be subject to a maximum of 8 hours and/or 48 hours a week with double the rate of wages for overtime and one weekly off.
To provide for social security for domestic workers through tripartite boards, sectoral levy or cess of 1% must be collected apart from 1% of GST and 3% of the annual Central and State Budgets on the basis of Loksabha Standing Committee in 2008, the NDWM demanded stating that Economists have recommended a special tax on super rich in the country for provision of ESI and housing for unorganised workers.
It further demanded for constitution of tripartite boards for domestic workers for regulation of employment, wages, working conditions including safety and occupational health, social security since there is changing employment, employer employee relationship.
List of occupational diseases and their identification, treatment, rehabilitation, compensation must be provided.
It said there is a need for Board offices at district and at lower levels apart from dispute resolution mechanism at district levels to deal with resolution of disputes between the employers and workers and also Grievance redress mechanism at district levels to deal with grievances regarding functions of Boards.
(Page News Service)

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