Going through a pandemic without money or job is hard enough, so to think that a section of people have to face ostracisation on top of that, is both infuriating and heartbreaking.
We are talking about domestic workers here.
Or to put it another way, making some simple assumptions, the vast majority of middle class families who gathered on their balconies to bang thalis and light diyas on the call of the ‘Dear Leader’ didn’t pay their domestic workers. pic.twitter.com/XpRj6dIfeY— Asim Ali (@AsimAli6) June 1, 2020
The National Domestic Workers Movement estimates that there are 50 million domestic workers in India. Domestic work is the fastest growing sector of women’s employment in urban India according to ILO. Yet we do not have a national policy protecting their rights. https://t.co/88BV9iRfvU— NiranjanJN (@ChopinGovan) June 1, 2020
A few days ago, a report from The Indian Express revealed the condition of maids in Noida. They are not being paid and have lost their jobs. As a result, some have even resorted to begging for food.
The situation in Karnataka is no different, where they are also facing the stigma of being the ‘virus carriers’.
Their only request? It’s okay if you are scared, just communicate that with respect.
Living in gated communities in India means having to follow stupid, sadistic, and casteist rules of the association. Maids and servants can face horrible restrictions. Here is one community where the maids are not allowed to use the elevator: pic.twitter.com/tXIHlVbnIT— Jayant Bhandari (@JayantBhandari5) May 24, 2020
That seems like a far-fetched idea for now, though, as a source from Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area told ScoopWhoop about the systematic prejudice against domestic workers in her building complex.
So what is happening is, with the easing of the lockdown, the society is allowing people to call their maids to work.
However, they have to sign a form given by the RWA, which says, among other things, that the employer takes full responsibility in case their decision leads to anyone getting infected with Covid-19.
Here it is.
Now what makes it an elitist step, is the fact that there is no such form for other people entering the society.
In the conversation, our source told us that while there are temperature checks for people coming inside, they do not need to fulfill any such formality.
As for residents, even temperature check is allegedly skipped.
This insinuation that the risk of the virus spreading is more from domestic help than other people, is problematic.
The residents should be careful in general and NO ONE should be allowed to enter or leave the building without being thoroughly questioned.
Basically, the rules should be the same for all.
‘We need milk for our children’: India’s domestic workers – who cook & clean for the nation’s affluent families – struggle to feed their kids as employers stop paying them. They can’t work (or aren’t wanted due to covid fears). They have no rights to protect them. @divyaconnects pic.twitter.com/nReF5oYSE8— Nicola Careem (@NicolaCareem) May 24, 2020
And it is us, the ones who are more privileged, who must ensure that.
Because the domestic workers are already struggling unimaginably and probably not even thinking about fair treatment.
They will come and work, even if it comes at the cost of being mistreated, because they are out of options.
It’s the authorities and the employers who have to keep their condition in mind, not call them for work unless absolutely necessary and pay them regardless of everything.
This act was passed after YEARS of campaigning by civil society, activists and domestic workers groups. It is a pity that there’s so much lacking in its implementation https://t.co/mgAY1nF9zE— Nayab Gohar Jan (@NayabGJan) June 6, 2020
In this regard, another question is: Do the RWAs even have the power to make such rules?
A similar news had emerged from Ghaziabad last month, when the RWAs had asked the doctors working on the frontlines in Delhi to not come back to their own homes.
In this case, though, they had received orders from higher ups.
#YogiAdityanat Ghaziabad authorities advised all RWA to stop those HCW/ Drs who work in Delhi (even not on covid duty) to stay away from their residence and remain in Delhi in their makeshift arrangements. Why doctors are being targeted? pic.twitter.com/UqYIEmWaEd— Shailesh Sahay (@scsahay) May 7, 2020