Human Rights Commission notice to Kerala govt over ‘pathetic’ work conditions of women in textile shops

Saturday, Jul 2, 2016,11:12 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to Kerala government over the pathetic working conditions of women workers, who are allegedly not allowed to sit or go to toilet, during work at textile retail shops.

The action came after NHRC received a complaint that human rights of women workers in textile retail sector are being violated in Kerala as they are not allowed to sit or go to toilet during their more than 10-hour-long duty. Allegedly, their ‘Right to Sit’ and ‘Right to Pee’, which are basic human rights, have not been protected in the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1960. The Commission has given the state authorities concerned two weeks time to respond, said an NHRC statement.

The allegations raised a serious issue of violation of Right to Health and Right to Dignity of the female workers in the textile retail shops. The government is bound to take necessary steps to protect the human rights of these female workers, observed the Commission while issuing notices to the Kerala Chief Secretary. According to the complaint, many textile shops in Kerala have not even set up toilets for the workers in the work space. Even at the shops where toilets have been provided, permission is required from the manager to use it during working hours. The prolonged standing has resulted in many of them developing a medical problem called ‘Varicose Veins’, a condition in which the veins in the leg become weak, large, and twisted. Allegedly, there have been strikes by women workers against the continuous ignorance by the authorities towards their issues, the statement added.

In 2014, the government of Kerala passed an ordinance amending the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1960, but while doing so, it did not take any action to protect the interests of a large group of unorganised sectors workers. The amended Act did not make difference to the working conditions of female workers in the textile retail shops.

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