Night shift for Madhya Pradesh women workers opposed


Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh’s decision to amend a law to allow women to work in factories up to 10 p.m. has been opposed by women groups alleging it will lead to their exploitation.

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“The Madhya Pradesh government has Saturday issued a notification allowing women in factories to work from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” an official said Monday adding that the notification has been issued in keeping with the Factories Act, 1948.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said in a statement that the notification will lead to “exploitation of women workers”. It has been issued under pressure from factory owners and not for the benefit of women workers as it has been made out to be, it alleged.

“The chief Minister makes announcement without even thinking of its consequences,” association’s state president Sandhya Shaili said, referring to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s recent announcement on the issue.

“If women workers have to work in late evening hours, without proper protection, they would be exposed to severe risk,” AIDWA state general secretary Neena Sharma said, announcing protests against the government’s decision.

The association claimed that as many as 91 minor girls and 225 women were raped in the state between October 2009 and January 2010. “Women are unsafe even in the state capital during day time, allowing them to work in evening shifts will further expose them to unsafe conditions,” AIDWA said.

Talking about the notification that allows women to work in night shifts, an official said: “It has been made mandatory that in each shift at least two women workers should work together and the company should provide to and fro transportation facility between plant and residence for them.”

The notification has also directed the factory owners to provide adequate safety and security to women workers, especially during night shift.

The state government has also directed the factories to make arrangements for separate toilets for women and creche for their children inside factory premises.