Women working in garment factories in Bengaluru are facing health issues due to unhealthy working conditions.
Health concerns towards women workers in garment factories have drastically increased as published in a report by International Journal of Advanced Community Medicine.
As per the report; 52 percent women faces musculoskeletal disorders, 43 percent faces anemia along with menstrual irregularities are faced by 12 percent and respiratory ailments by 10 percent.
Anu R, a garment worker at Wonder Blues said, “We do face problems here; we work for long hours and don’t get enough wages also. Many of us have developed breathing problems, issues of back ache and all that but we cannot do anything – it is a necessity. We don’t know any other skills.”
Bengaluru city has five lakh workers in 12 thousand factories, and women account to around 80% women of it.
Saroja K., General Secretary of Garment Labour Union said that the workers have a fixed production target from 9-5. “If they don’t complete it, the manager shouts at them and even drags them outside to scold them. Thus, to meet the target they can’t even drink water, eat food properly and go to the toilet,” she added.
Saroja said that these workers fall seriously ill due to the excess heat, same posture, metal seats, and long working hours. She adds that especially in case of women; hormonal changes, period problems, discharge issues are additional problems.
Another report suggests that most of the workers in the garment industry are dissatisfied with their salaries, safety facilities, leave policy, promotion policies, and behavior of the owners.
Motilal D. Rathod from the Karnataka Welfare Department said, “For workers, we have mechanisms. They can give us in writing that something is wrong and action will be taken.” He added that every three months to six years they conduct a proper inspection where these issues can be addressed.
However, Saroja said that the governments haven’t created any committees nor do they conduct any regular inspections. They only come for inspection when a case is registered. There is no grievance mechanism as well which makes it difficult to keep a track of these cases as the workers have no one to complain to, she added.
The guidelines laid down by the Karnataka Labour Welfare department suggests that if an inspector finds that the working condition of women workers in factories is not adequate, action can be taken against the managers and they may be removed from their post.