giovedì 27 dicembre 2012

Servants in India: Cheap household labour is no longer in abundant supply

India, like Britain and America until a century ago, has an established culture of live-in servants. Professional urban families often have a “maid”, usually a young migrant woman, who does everything from dusting to child care. (...) Yet the culture may be changing. In Chennai, a commercial city in southern India, Bangalore, the country’s IT hub, and Goa, a coastal tourism hotspot, families also say it has become harder over the past five years to find live-in staff. Demand is rising as more women go out to work and fewer live in claustrophobic joint families where in-laws act as nannies. Yet supply is falling (...) Economic liberalisation in the past two decades has created a wider range of low-skilled urban jobs. Malls need shop assistants. Offices need errand boys. In rural areas a job-creation scheme for poor households is keeping potential migrants at home. Meanwhile, middle-aged servants have invested in their children’s schooling so that their offspring do not follow in their footsteps. Servants, in turn, are more able than before to demand decent working conditions.(...) Poor treatment is another deterrent. Even progressive families have an unwritten rule that servants should not sit on the same furniture or use the same crockery as their employers. Servants are vulnerable to violence and sexual abuse. Now India’s government is trying to boost servants’ rights.
 Reat the full story @ The Economist