HUNDREDS OF domestic helps from different parts of the city held a protest outside the office of additional labour commissioner in Pune against the compulsory linking of PAN and Aadhaar numbers for availing welfare schemes. Protesters said the officials were demanding the details even for registration with the Maharashtra Domestic Workers Welfare Board.
The protest was held under the banner of the Gharelu Kamgar Kruti Samiti. The protesters, led by Saraswati Bhandirge, Subhadra Khilare, Julie George, Anita, Hirabai Ghonge, Sharda Wadekar, Shrikant Aher, Ajit Abhyankar and Vasant Pawar, also demanded action against employers seeking Aadhaar and PAN card details.
A press release issued after the protest stated that it was withdrawn after officials of the Labour Commissionerate assured action against the “erring officials”. The protest also saw active participation from domestic workers above the age of 60 years, who demanded that the age of registration with the Board should be extended to at least 70 years. The Samiti drew attention to the fact that in the absence of a pension, or any other social security cover, many domestic workers are forced to work even after 60 years of age, but, due to the age restrictions in the Board, they are denied its benefits.
Other demands included reconstitution of the Welfare Board, with representatives from trade unions of domestic workers; independent infrastructural provision for the registration and renewal of domestic workers; distribution of identity cards and enrolment in benefit schemes and welfare schemes; Rs 3,000 monthly pension, along with housing and other benefits, and a comprehensive law to regulate the working conditions of domestic workers.
They had also demanded setting up of a Rs 75 per hour minimum wage, a weekly off, 15 days’ worth of annual paid leave, gratuity and acceptance of the pension scheme formulated by the Gokhale Institute.