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Female textile workers paid peanuts

MUZAFFARGARH, March 16: About 8,000 women working in textile and jute mills in Muzaffargarh district are deprived of their rights and they have sought support of the human rights organisations.

Dawn has learnt that there are 17 textile and two jute mills in the district where 8,000 women are working as daily wagers and mills owners do not employ them on a permanent basis.

“I have been working at this mill for the last four years but I have no social security card and no other benefits,” says Shadoo Bibi, a worker of a textile unit on Jhang Road.

She says she had been deprived of medical treatment for TB last month. A woman worker is paid just Rs90 to 100 per day in mills. They also work under contractors who hire them as daily wagers.

Rubina, an FA student, says she and her two sisters have been working at Hasher Textile Mills for the last two years. Mill officials do not give them salary on time, she says, adding that last month she and her 600 colleagues got their salaries on the intervention of PPP MNA Jamshed Dasti.

Sakina, a worker of Apollo Textile Mills, says she is the only breadwinner of her house as her husband is ill.

“The management gives me Rs95 per day, but I have to work for more than eight hours. The mills officials often harass me, if I demand my dues or social security card.”

Iqbal Bibi says she goes with her other village fellows from Mahmoodkot to Apollo mills. They have to work in day and night shifts. They have to pay Rs2 per head to van daily while the mill management never compensates them.

In these mills most of the women workers are private students who work for money to meet their educational expenses.

Halima says she works in Thal Jute Mills but she wants labour facilities according to the law.

On international Women Day on March 8, these women waited for MNAs, MPAs and NGOs but no one came there to listen to their problems.

Now they have invited human rights organisations and foreign NGOs to visit these mills and solve their problems.

When this correspondent contacted, district labour officer Syed Masroor Shah said: “According to the new rule, the labour department cannot check these mills, so we are helpless.”
Source: Dawn
Date:3/17/2008

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