Residents of Prestige Shantiniketan, Whitefield, woke up to a day of huge drama on Tuesday morning. More than 30 domestic helps who work in the apartment gathered under a tree demanding that the new rule that does not allow them to walk on the podium be removed. The maids threatened not to report to work until and unless the rule is removed.
However, before things could go out of hand, members of the managing committee of the apartment complex and other residents reached the spot. When the maids were asked their biggest concern and what their demand was, the domestic helps demanded a safer place for them to function from and not the basement. Should space marked for them continue to be the basement, they should be provided extra safety there, they said.
Speaking about the incident to Bangalore Mirror, Vivek Shandilya, a member of the managing committee, said, “We had spoken to the domestic workers and other staff members on Monday night. They had told us their concerns about their safety in the basement of our apartment and we had promised to resolve the matter. However, on Tuesday morning a few maids tried to take advantage of the situation. They wanted to gather up all the maids and become leaders.”
The members went up to the maids and spoke to them and once again promised them that more tube-lights and security guards would be provided in the basement.
One of the maids, who works in four houses in the complex, said, “A gang of drivers wait in the basement area. We are often subjected to eve teasing by these unruly elements. This is the reason why we would sit and walk through the podium area. We will abide by the law formulated by the association provided we get their assurance of security in the area.”
Shandilya, explained the situation further to add, “We came up with this rule as there were some security issues in the complex. There was a need to beef up the security. Residents even started night patrolling but then that was affecting our day jobs. Keeping in mind that summer vacation are here and children would be playing in the area unattended by anyone, we wanted to just beef up the security.”
The members say that the rule benefited them in two ways. The first being that the rule acted as a deterrent for any helping staff entering an area where children are playing unattended and the second one being a better monitoring of the footfalls in the area.
“When the same person keeps roaming in the area it becomes a little difficult to ascertain the reason for the action. Also, this is not any kind of class divide. The society is a workplace for the domestic helps. A workplace always has a few restricted areas. Just like in corporate offices, we have server rooms. The same system is applied here.
Had we allowed the maids to come and restricted the male cooks or drivers, we could have been accused of gender discrimination. We are not practising any kind of discrimination. We are just ensuring safety,” added Shandilya.
The society has already started work on lighting up the basement. It will also put up signage in the basement. Areas are being identified to create facilities where helping staff can sit and have lunch. Restrooms will also be put up. All residents and maids of the apartment have agreed to the offered solution.
Credits Bangalore Mirror