Indian woman had to sleep on floor and could not call home
A DOMESTIC worker who received an appalling 11p an hour — and whose exploiters have been ordered to pay her nearly £184,000 — told yesterday of her years of suffering.
Permila Tirkey, 39, was brought to Britain from India by Pooja and Ajay Chandok to “follow the children around at all times” and do all their household chores.
Ms Tirkey told an employment tribunal last month that she had not questioned the £50 a month “wage,” as it was the going rate in Delhi and she had no idea about pay in Britain.
The landmark tribunal case forced the Chandoks, from Milton Keynes, to pay her £183,773 — taking her wages for the four-and-a-half years of drudgery up to the legal minimum.
Ms Tirkey told the BBC that she had had to sleep on the floor in one of the children’s bedrooms. She tended to the youngsters’ every need from 6am and throughout the nights.
The Chandoks only allowed her to call her family in India twice in all that time. Ms Tirkey said that she once considered suicide when they denied her £5 to phone home.
She said: “They told me that the rule was not to speak to anyone … I had no friends.”
Marissa Begonia, a domestic worker and co-founder of Justice for Domestic Workers (JFDW), said Ms Tirkey’s win was an “isolated victory” as the government still needs to establish more regulations.
She told the Star: “This is a big victory for Ms Tirkey … but there are thousands still without rights or protection.”
JFDW seeks the reinstatement of the domestic overseas worker visa, which allows the right to change employers, renew visas or apply for the right to remain in Britain.
The widely criticised Modern Slavery Bill came into force in March. MPs rejected an amendment to abolish “tied visas,” which has barred domestic workers from seeking alternative employment since 2012.
Workers also cannot receive legal aid unless they can prove they have been trafficked, Ms Begonia said.