Women rally on 'International Domestic Workers Day'

LAHORE: “Implementing the Punjab Domestic Workers Act 2019 in letter in spirit, the Punjab govt. should frame rules of business without further delay for effective implementation of the law, register domestic workers with PESSI, issue social security cards to workers and increase their wages in proportion to the rising inflation. The barely minimum wages don’t commensurate with their work output”.
 
These demands were made by the participants of a public demonstration, organized in connection with International Domestic Workers Day, today (Friday) by WISE (women in struggle for Empowerment) at Lahore Press Club. A large number of women domestic workers and leaders of Women Domestic Workers Union joined the demo, followed by a seminar held at Lahore Press Club. The participants were chanting slogans and carrying banners and placards inscribed with demands in favor of domestic workers. One of the slogans repeatedly chanted was “we are workers, not servants! The employers should treat the DWs with respect and dignity”.
 
Speaking at the seminar, Ms. Bushra Khaliq, Executive Director WISE, said women domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in respect of working conditions, terms of employment and to other abuses of human rights. They are forced to face issues like long and unlimited working hours, violence and multiple forms of abuse at work, forced/child labor, lack of minimum wage, labor inspection and law enforcement. Despite the domestic workers law in Punjab, they are not being registered with PESSI. She demanded of the government to register DWs and issue them social security cards. She urged the Punjab Govt. to frame rules of business without further delay for effective implementation of the law by reflecting it in the schedule 2 of Punjab Government Rules of Business, 2001 and to make all the rules as prescribed under Section 2(q) read with Section 38 of the Act of 2019 to enable the departments concerned to applicable the law in letter and spirit.
 
Addressing the participants of seminar Abdul Khaliq, a Social Researcher urged the govt. provide effective means and procedures for Domestic Workers to report labor abuses, unfair dismissals and violations of their rights. He stressed the need for amendments in the law providing complaint and rehabilitation mechanisms for minor domestic workers once they are recovered and rescued from the workplace. He said, ILO has defined domestic work as the form of modern slavery and elimination of modern slavery by 2030 is part of Goal 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals of which Pakistan is a party, he said adding that Pakistan should ratify ILO Convention-189.
 
President of the DWs union Shenaz Ajmal and general secretary Shazia Saeed speaking on the occasion urged the labor department to register their union at earliest. They demanded of the govt. to provide them cheap transport facility, increase their wages in proportion to the rising inflation. Maternity leave for women Domestic workers be made 12-weeks instead of 6-weeks, they demanded.

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