Domestic Workers Protest In Chennai Over Job Loss, Ignorance During Pandemic
Hundreds of women domestic workers demanded assistance from the government for job losses due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Domestic workers of the Pengal Thozhilalar Sangam (a Women's Workers Association) in Chennai on September 2, urging the state government to provide them with some kind of aid for their loss of livelihood because of the COVID-19 induced lockdown for over five months.
Hundreds of women domestic workers from Chennai, Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur gathered all together while maintaining social distancing and requested the government to issue orders to the employers to take the domestic workers back to work.
The workers also complained about the government's lack of concern towards them during these hard times, they demanded a formal meeting with the government. Some workers from Perumbakkam and Mogappair also alleged that they were subjected to social marginalisation by their respective employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The reason for our protest is mainly because the apartments are not ready to take workers who hail from homes in the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board. The government removed our individual houses and built us homes in Perumbakkam, but if the employers say no to us, where will we go and work?" The News Minute quoted Karpagam, a domestic worker from Perumbakkam as saying.
Karpagam also said that the government had announced assistance to the workers through the Tamil Nadu Domestic Workers Welfare Board which has not been received by many workers till now.
"In Mogappair, only a few women continue to do their job as domestic workers. Most of the employers who are scared of infection spread have not called them back for work. The workers could not go to work due to lack of transportation. Since private transportation was already fleecing passengers, the government should have continued public transportation with a thin fleet. The lack of transportation all these days has led to the loss of livelihood in many homes," President of Pengal Thozhilalar Sangam, Sujata Mody as saying.
However, ₹10,000 has been demanded by the workers as compensation along with free bus passes to travel. "Our rough estimates show that each of them has lost at least ₹7,000 a month from their regular earnings. This means unpaid rent, unpaid loans and another such burden for them," Mody added.