Demand for separate ministry for women in unorganised sector

Thozhi, an alliance of women workers of the unorganised sector, has demanded a separate ministry to handle issues faced by them on a daily basis.

The ministry would help in providing resolution to all their demands not being met by the labour department, they contended.

The women put forth a list of demands at a workshop on Sunday. The demands were also submitted to representatives of various political parties.

Organised by the Centre for Education and Empowerment of the Marginalised (CEEMA), the workshop brought to notice various issues faced by women workers at anklet manufacturing units in Salem, spinning mills in Erode and Tiruppur, cashew factories in Pudukottai, Ariyalur and Perambalur, textile units in Karur, betel nut and tobacco units in Thanjavur, rice mills and sub-contract ventures in Tiruchi, leather factories in Vellore, Tiruppathur and Krishnagiri.

According to the federation, the workers were not allowed to eat on time or urinate because of which they developed health complications. A government order could also be passed to ensure that sanitary napkins were provided to them for free.

The women also demanded that a strong internal complaints committee be formed at workplaces, with regular checks from the labour department. The department must also create awareness of welfare schemes available to women workers.

A request was also made to increase the number of Employees’ State Insurance Hospitals for their benefit as there were only five in Tamil Nadu.

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