Domestic helps to press for legislation on wages

Kolkata, June 16 (IANS) Domestic helps from at least seven states will converge here on Friday for a two-day seminar to rally behind their colleagues from West Bengal pushing for a legislation to govern wages and provision for other amenities.

NGO Sristy for Human Society, which claims to have at least 5,000 domestic helps under its umbrella, is spearheading the seminar and has appealed to the state’s Labour Minister Moloy Ghatak to bring in a legislation raising their demands.

“Several states in India have brought in legislation concerning the domestic helps and Gujarat appointed a welfare board which addresses their concerns. We need something of this sort in West Bengal,” a social worker with the NGO Anibrata Pramanik told IANS.

The seminar is slated to be held on Jun 19-20 at a city auditorium.

The social worker claimed the state government was considering framing rules to fix the wages of domestic helps and introduce welfare schemes for them.

The NGO said besides Ghatak, state secretaries, officials, quasi judicial bodies and trade union leaders are likely to address the domestic helps during the seminar.

“There are more than 40,000 maid servants in Kolkata alone… I think the labour minister (Ghatak) can take up issues like fixing the wage, providing social security and other benefits to them,” he said.

The social worker said the domestic helps under his NGO are not considering aligning with any political outfit in the bid to form a union.

“Aligning with any political party for the domestic helps’ union is not under consideration,” he said.

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