Lockdown: Domestic workers struggle to make ends meet as families refuse to pay
Thousands of domestic workers in the city are struggling, with no work and hardly any money left to buy the essentials. Many women who do cooking and cleaning work in the apartments are now left to fend for themselves, as they have not received salaries from their employers after the lockdown was announced.
“They have been out of work for a month now and while some people have given them their salaries, many others have denied giving them any money, as they have not been able to work. This has put many of them in a very difficult situation as they barely have money to buy food and essentials,” said Surendra Bansode, a city-based activist who works for the welfare of domestic workers.
Neelam Jirve, who lost her husband to tuberculosis last week, travels from Vasai to Prabhadevi every day where she cooks in five households. With two children to fend for, Jirve is having a tough time making ends meet. “The people with whom I work have agreed to give me my salary, but there is no way I can collect it from them under this lockdown. They asked if they could transfer the money online, but I have no bank account or debit card for the same,” she added.
Bansode said that while some NGOs and voluntary organisations are helping them with food, there is a lot of uncertainty about the coming days. “If they go out of their homes, they won’t be paid in the coming months. It is going to be an uphill battle,” he added. “There is so much uncertainty. We don’t know when the lockdown will be lifted,” said a 38-year-old woman who works as a house help in Borivli.