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Dimapur, June 14: The conditions of the domestic workers in the state of Nagaland appear to be one of the worst in the country due to the very fact that they are not being recognized as workers. As long as they are not recognized as a workforce by the State Government, they are not entitled to claim a minimum wage and thereby continue to be exploited, abused and ill-treated.
Raising this issue at an interaction with the media here at Assisi Hr. Sec. School, Dimapur, State coordinator of National Domestic Workers Movement Nagaland Region Sr. Pramila said domestic workers of Nagaland have been trying to get their union recognized by the State Government for years but despite repeated assurances, it has not been registered.
She said that what the movement and the unregistered union is trying to achieve a fixed minimum wages, weekly off, paid annual leaves, protection from physical and sexual abuse and social security. She demanded the State government to recognize the domestic workers as workers, protection against all types of harassment, access to benefits, inclusion of domestic workers in schedule of employment and thus entitled to minimum wages and registration of domestic workers under trade union act. She accused that Government is aware of the conditions of domestic workers in the State and yet it is not doing anything.
She also demanded from the employers respectful treatment to the workers, decent wages, sufficient rest, decent working conditions, weekly offs, paid holidays and sick leaves. From the general public she demanded that they should recognize the domestic workers as workers, support them in their cry and call them by their names.
She said that since the workers are not educated, this is the only work that they can do and which is readily available. She revealed that majority of domestic workers in Nagaland are Bengali, Bihari, Nepali, adivasis and Eastern Naga tribes.
Sr. Pramila also said that the employers should get their employees registered, especially the live-in domestic workers, with NDWM so that they can have a voice to speak for them.
When Nagaland Page contacted Assistant Labour Commissioner of Dimapur, Temwang Konyak to know what was causing the delay for the recognition of the union, he said that the recognition of the union is not a singular case but there are other organizations also that are awaiting registration but since the government is about to bring in some new laws, the process has been halted for a time being.
Lima Nochet, legal advisor of NDWM, Nagaland said the underappreciated job involves severe human rights violations and since due to lack of laws in the state there cannot be house inspections of the working conditions, such people work in isolation and their stories aren’t heard.
He said that NDWM has been trying hard to get the union recognized but it is still unrecognized.
President of Eastern Naga Women’s Union, Taumei Phom, who was also present during the interaction said that the issue of domestic workers is also an issue of women empowerment and rights and assured support towards the union.
Besides, during the meeting, many domestic workers present shared their stories of exploitations, ill-treatments and low pay despite of working seven days a week and one of the common demands that they made is that they should be recognized, paid minimum wages and there should be laws that would protect their interests. (Page News Service)