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Domestic Worker Cooperatives

Domestic worker Cooperatives

The objective behind these initiatives was to promote collective bargaining for decent wages and working conditions besides helping the workers with self-employment activities to support extra income to improve decent living conditions.

These cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all domestic workers able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership. They are autonomous, independent self-help organizations controlled by their members. They are registered under the Cooperative Societies Act with their own byelaws. They can enter into contracts of behalf of their members. Members actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Those serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. All members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote). Members contribute their share of capital equitably and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.

Cooperatives provide education and training for their members and elected representatives, so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. The potential benefits of the cooperatives include enabling a group of workers to negotiate contracts, working hours, wages and other terms of work with their employers, providing opportunities for obtaining new skills and knowledge and services which members need like access to financial services; legal support; advice and counselling. It also offers experience in democratic self-government and management skills.

During 2019 and 2020, 3555 domestic workers underwent training on the basics and functions of Cooperatives in Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra. The domestic workers cooperative in the district of Ranchi was registered in 2017 as Gharelu Kaamgar Swawlambi Sahakari Samity (GKSSS) from Jharkhand Cooperative Societies Department under the Ministry of Cooperatives and Minority, Government of Jharkhand. NDWM-Maharashtra’s registered co-operative society’s name is “Gruhashramika Women Industrial Productive Co-operative Ltd in the Year 2020. Cooperatives in other states are in the process of being registered. The cooperatives in all the States have a combined total of 2500 members
Placement of domestic workers and signing of written contracts with employers has been promoted by all the cooperatives. Domestic workers have been trained and placed for jobs with contracts signed by both the parties with fixed time and salary and work hours. Job related skill training is also provided to the members of cooperative. Awareness is created through printed pamphlets among workers, apartments, association authorities and employers and to collect the data of workers and employers. Domestic workers are also supported financially to start income generating activities.