Year 1 Countdown: Findings from our Tamil Nadu Labour Union (TNLU) Project
174 domestic workers trained
Traditionally underpaid and often exploited, domestic workers in Madurai city have learnt how to use modern technology like washing machines, microwaves and food mixers. Through the TNLU training they now understand that they are entitled to set hours of work, leave, and medical benefits and are also currently engaged in the struggle for a living wage.
110 fish vendors form a cooperative
Fish is no longer wasted at the end of the fish vendor’s day. Experts from the Fisheries Department have given advice on techniques for drying fish or turning it into hot snacks at the end of the day. Over 110 fish vendors have now come together to form a cooperative and, after TNLU business training, members have now framed a constitution and elected a board.
10 shops for vegetable vendors
Vegetable vendors have recently established ten small shops in Madurai city, assisted by the TNLU. This not only allows direct deliveries from growers but unsold vegetables can be stored for sale the next day. Vendors have been granted police licenses and now sell to the public without obstruction from the authorities.
5 girls get school fees and books
Five girls have been supported in their education thanks to a General Fund established by project participants. Since the start of the project a year ago, over 170 TNLU members now make monthly savings of Rs 100 (NZ$2.2) for emergencies and to help with their children’s education.
2 seed banks established
Members of the both the vegetable and flower growers cooperatives have learnt to collect and preserve their own seeds, using natural manure and pest control methods and by avoiding the middle men, make significant savings.