A community life skill development program was organized jointly by AITUC and ILO for domestic workers and their partners in Chennai. Inaugurating the session, Com Waheeda Nizam, Secretary of AITUC that ILO had always facilitated unionization of domestic workers in Tamil Nadu. According to Waheeda, AITUC has organized over 10000 workers in Tamil Nadu, who are registered in Tamil Nadu Domestic Workers Welfares Board. Waheeda also mentioned that there is a decline in services of Tamil Nadu Domestic Workers Welfare board due to increasing politicization of administrative structures and State Advisory Board is defunct. In this context, there is a need for new forms of understanding and mobilizing workers for unions organizing unorganized workers. Waheeda felt that this initiative provides a mechanism to develop such understanding.
Riku, coordinator of ILO, shared her comments on the inauguration, stating that labour is not commodity and workers have rights. ILO has formulated rules and conventions for articulation of labour rights. One such ongoing campaign is the minimum wage notification for domestic workers. Riku also said that existing laws on labour rights and enforcement are confined to factories, one form of workplaces and do not reflect the conditions of alternate workplaces. With domestic workers work in homes, alternate workplaces need different articulations of legal rights and enforcement.
The program incorporated various activity based skill development activities between Oct 9th and Oct 11th. Over 10 domestic workers, their partners and activists participated in the program.