DOMESTIC WORKERS AIR THEIR WOES

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The All India Domestic Workers Union formed in 2012 held the Domestic Workers Convention 2014 where they made several demands from their employers and the Maharashtra government. The convention was held at the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) compound near Press Club at CST on Tuesday afternoon.

The two-hour-long convention was attended by domestic workers from all over Mumbai and Navi Mumbai who spoke about their grievances. The workers, most of them women, focussed on economical and social upbringing. The two most important points were decent wages and education of their children. They spoke about their needs through songs which a group of them sung there.

One such domestic worker is Meena Bhoir who has been living in Vashi for more than two decades. Bhoir came to Navi Mumbai from Worli village after her husband died while she was pregnant with her second son. “Ever since then I have worked at other people’s homes as a maid and taken care of my children,” said the mother of two sons, aged 27 and 26 years respectively. Bhoir lives with her sons in a one-room flat and cooks at people’s homes to earn a living.

“Working without weekly-offs on low wages, taking care of multiple households, tolerating alcoholic, abusive husbands is not a cakewalk. It is even worse for single mothers,” Bhoir said. Besides being a cook, she also helps out women get a job as maidservants in her area.

Based on the domestic workers’ grievances, most of whom are women, the Union has demanded the following: insurance for every domestic worker from the state government, education cover for their children from the employers, at least one off every 15 days and a Diwali bonus, special welfare schemes for single mothers or women who are the only breadwinners in their houses, and Rs 10,000 every year for every women associated with the Union who turns 55.

The Union wants these demands to be a part of Maharashtra Congress’s election manifesto during the upcoming assembly elections. Susieben Shah, the chairperson of the Maharashtra State Commission for Women, who was the organiser of the event said, “These women take care of not only their households but also others’ households. The Maharashtra government must provide this money every year to women who genuinely need it.” On Tuesday, Shah distributed Rs 10,000 to a bunch of women who turned 55 this year. The money was collected under various government schemes.

The convention was co-organised by Neela Limaye, the spokesperson from Navi Mumbai for Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee. Limaye is also the president of the Mahila Congress Committee of Navi Mumbai. The president of All India Women Congress (AIWC) Shobha Oza was also present at the convention.

This article originally appeared in The Free Press Journal. Click here to read the original article.

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