Reported By : Mr. Proshin Ghosh, Senior Programme Officer, Kolkata

 

Domestic Workers

 

Kolkata, West Bengal: Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) is one of the partner organisation of IGSSS working on the issues of urban poor under the Samaveshi Sheher intervention. The intervention is focused on collectivization of female domestic workers.

 

Anjali Sardar, 40 years old lady lives in Bidhan Colony slum. She is a member of Durbar Disha, a collectivization platform formed by DMSC as part of the Samaveshi Sheher intervention.

 

Anjali was working as a domestic help in an upper middle class family. She was paid a monthly wage of Rs.1500. However, when she took leave for two months during the birth of her child and wished to join after two months, the employers refused to employ her back to work and also were not willing to pay her remaining dues citing that she was on leave.

 

The situation became extremely critical for Anjali as she needed the employment to sustain her family; she was also the sole bread earner. Anjali shared about the incident with the core committee of Durbar Disha. The members of Durbar Disha took the issue very seriously.

 

They visited the employer of Anjali and advocated about her concern strongly. The committee members shared with her employers that as she was in emergency situation, she had every right to take leave on maternity ground. They also spoke at lengths about the struggles of Anjali’s life and how as a society we should be sensitive towards addressing the concerns of the urban poor. The counselling effort bore positive outcome, as the employers not only paid Anjali her dues but also employed her back to work. During a recent conversation with Anjali, she shared that her employers have now become supportive and treats her with dignity. She is now continuing her work happily and is also able to take care of her child.