Kanpur: It`s a problem of hearth-shaking proportions! You need to hire a new maid but don`t know where to begin, whom to trust and hate to haggle about wages. What if an agency did all that - and for free!
A maids` union - Gharelu Mahila Kamgaar Union (GMKU) - has been set up in Uttar Pradesh that has come up with this unique facility.
"You just need to approach us and within days you will receive bio-data of several maids of your locality with information about their address, age, family background, hometown and work experience. Thereafter, considering the biodata you can select the maid that suits you best," GMKU general secretary Meenu Soor told IANS.
GMKU, which operates from Kanpur has around 11,000 maids as its members working in eight cities of Uttar Pradesh. For availing GMKU`s services, one needs to approach its office or call 8005185783.
"The new facility intends to serve a dual purpose -- facilitating people in getting the right maids, and helping the maids with employment opportunities," said Soor, who has been taking up issues related to domestic workers for the last several years.
Krishna Shankar Tiwari, who recently hired a maid using the facility, is a happy man. "Now we don`t have to visit different places. The facility will help save energy and time of employers who otherwise have to visit places in search of reliable maids," he said.
"As I came to know about the union from my neighbours, I hired one by visiting the office," added Tiwari, who owns a garment shop in Govindnagar.
Also happy is Susheela Kashyap, a maid who got herself registered with the union last week.
"People normally doubt our credentials when we directly approach a house. However, with the registration process, we don`t have to face such a difficulty," she said.
GMKU members claim that before enrolling maids for the new service, they exercise a lot of caution.
"We try to gather as much information as possible before registering the maids. However, we give preference to those maids who approach us for registration with the reference of existing members," Soor said.
"But still we would emphasise that people must opt for police verification when it comes to hiring servants," said Soor, who lives in the Govindnagar area.
According to GMKU members, a registration fee of Rs.13 is charged from the maids who join the organisation. Thereafter, on an yearly basis, the membership can be renewed by depositing Rs.12 with GMKU.
"Once the registration is complete, we provide the maids with a card that bears their photograph and serves as an identity card. It also has information about the maid`s husband/father, permanent address, present address and phone number if any," said Soor.
In order to avoid any conflict between the maids and their employers, GMKU has fixed labour charges that leaves little scope for bargaining.
"Though the labour charges are decided on the basis of number in the family and the area of the employer`s house, by and large we have fixed the charges," Kusum Rani, a GMKU member, told reporters.
"Normally we charge Rs.900-Rs.3,000 for cooking, Rs.250-Rs.1,500 for cleaning and mopping, and Rs.250-600 for washing utensils," she added.
The union does not keep any commission for itself and the salary is directly handed over to the maids by the employers.
"We don`t need to bother while taking up a new job whether we will get the right labour charges as they are fixed by the union itself," said Susheela Kashyap.