Speed Post News Network
New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Government of Kerala through its Chief Secretary, Department of Labour and Labour Commissioner, calling for reports, on a complaint that human rights of female workers in textile retail sector were being violated in the state as they are not allowed to sit and go to toilet during their more than ten hours 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 to respond.
While issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that the allegations raised a serious issue of violation of Right to Health and Right to Dignity of the female workers at the textile retail shops. The government is bound to take necessary steps to protect the human rights of these female workers.
According to the complaint, many textile shops have not even set up toilets for the workers at the work space in Kerala. 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 the medical problem of “Varicose Veins” for many of them. Allegedly, there have been strikes by women workers against the continuous ignorance of the authorities to their issues. In 2014, the government of Kerala did pass 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 unorganized sectors workers. The amended Act did not make difference to the working conditions of female workers in the textile retail shops.