BACK TO WORK | Most domestic workers happy to start Monday - poll

01 June 2020 - 06:30
By Alex Patrick
Domestic workers are going back to work on Monday.
Image: dolgachov/ Domestic workers are going back to work on Monday.

Aisha Pandor’s cleaning company Sweep South, an app for domestic helpers, is finally open for business again on Monday after nearly 70 days of complete shutdown.

Staff at the company have been severely affected by the shutdown as some of the lowest earners in the country with no work meaning no way of earning income. The company was able, through millions of rand in donations, to give each of the workers a stipend but Pandor said 96% of the 5,000 active domestic workers were keen to get back to work.

Pandor, however, said they had to tick a few boxes before work could start on Monday.

“First, we had to ask if the ladies were comfortable to resume work and 96% of them said they were.”

Each domestic worker would need to pass a test with 100% accuracy to be able to work. The test included questions which ensure that each worker understands the risks associated with the virus, including how to protect themselves, when to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), how to maintain social distancing and how to sanitise.

“Before booking or accepting a booking, each household needs to ensure that there are no signs of sickness in their homes. We have polled our customers to see that they feel comfortable and we are in contact with the customers and they are educated about the virus and understand that they, if elderly or sick etc, may not be able to use our services for a while.”

She said the company had communicated with customers to try to let domestic workers arrive and leave at low traffic times to mitigate the risks of crammed public transport.

Pandor said staff were constantly fed with information about the virus via WhatsApp groups and SMSes so they were always informed.

“We’ve also shown staff how to make effective sanitisers from everyday household items like vinegar and bicarb. Most homes will have cleaning products like bleach, but if they don’t, our Sweep Stars are able to make their own disinfectants which won’t damage or stain.

“It’s been tough with no revenue but we got through it and we are grateful in this time — when other businesses may have to retrench — that we have not had to do so.”