United for a cause: Rights demanded for domestic labourers

They should be recognised as part of formal workforce, says speaker


Demonstrators gathered to protest lack of rights for domestic workers. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Domestic workers must also be recognised as part of the formal workforce, said Rehana Yasmin of HomeNet Pakistan, adding that they should be granted social security and EOBI benefits.

She urged the state to take notice of the conditions of the domestic workers, comprising mostly of women from lower socio-economic classes. She lamented the fact that domestic labourers are still not are covered under the labour laws and remain vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation.

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She was speaking during press conference and a demo to highlight the plight of domestic workers, on the International Domestic Workers Day. The event was organised by HomeNet Pakistan at Karachi Press Club on Friday. The participants also included representatives from Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), Aurat Foundation, Domestic Women Workers Union and the civil society. Domestic workers shouted slogans and demanded minimum wage for them. They also urged the state to ratify International Labour Organization Convention 189, which deals with domestic workers, along with their recognition as workers and granting them social security.

The trade unions must also grant support to the domestic workers to help them secure their rights, remarked Shuja Qureshi of Piler. He also requested the Sindh Government to pass a law specifically for domestic workers.

The way lady health workers were able to unionise and secure their rights, the domestic workers must also follow their steps, said Yasmin. Additionally, she also requested those who employ domestic workers to educate their workers’ children, so that they can escape the vicious cycle.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2016.

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