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Study: Only 4% garment factories have anti-harassment committee

  • Published at 09:26 pm April 29th, 2019
Only 4% garment factories have anti-harassment committee
Speakers at a research sharing meeting on working condition of women employed in RMG factories in Dhaka on Monday Courtesy

According to the report 68% factories do not have any anti-harassment committee and 28% workers do not know about the committee

Only 4% garment factories have harassment complaint committee despite a High Court directive to form anti harassment committee in every organization.  

A study, titled “Monitoring work and working condition of women employed in RMG industires of Bangladesh” and conducted by Karmojibi Nari, says that about 14% of RMG workers face sexual harassment at their workplaces.

According to the report 68% factories do not have any anti-harassment committee and 28% workers do not know about the committee. 

It says around 68% workers do not know whether anti-harassment committee is existing at workplaces while in case of any incident only 30% respond to workplace harassment. 

Besides, nearly one in every four, about 72%, of them report experiencing verbal harassment, while 62% mental and psychological harassment and 21% physical harassment at their workplaces. 

Karmojibi Nari, in collaboration with International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, published the report at National Press Club on Monday.

The research was conducted on around 3,014 women workers of 327 factories of three areas — Dhaka, Narayanganj and Gazipur. 

The report also highlighted the present status of application of labour law provisions for women workers in the areas of employment contract, working hour, rest and leave, work environment, welfare and social protection, and workplace representation.

The report states that 80% of the surveyed workers do not have service book, while 36% have no appointment letter and 14% do not have identity card.

It says that half of the total RMG workers surveyed have reported that they do not know about their overtime work calculation when 92% workers have to do overtime. 95% have claimed they do not get the chance to take rest except lunch break, and 34% have the experience of doing mandatory night duty.

The findings of the report also state that daycare facilities are not available at the workplaces of majority workers and many workplaces do not have arrangement for breast-feeding. Provident fund is available only in 13% factories and 59% factories provide gratuity. 

At the workplaces, trade union and worker’s associations are least available and women workers are not mostly members of the organization/committee available at workplaces, report says. 

The report recommends formation of an effective anti-harassment committee with appropriate representation of women workers. 

It also recommends strengthening the labor regulation by ensuring enforcement of law to make it more women-friendly. It also emphasizes that to gain their rights, workers need to be more aware and conscious.

Other recommendations of the report include sensitizing employers to gender issue and ensuring workplaces with workers’ up-gradation or promotion policy and strong social protection measures.

Partima Paul Majumder, president of Karmojibi Nari, presided over the program while Shirin Akhter, member of Parliament of Feni-01 constituency, was present as chief guest. 

Shirin Akhter said women who are working in different organizations have to be more aware and conscious about their rights. 

“To protect their works fundamental rights and dignity, women have to form effective trade unions and  worker’s associations at their workplaces,” she added.

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