Women construction workers raise a charter of demands

Women construction workers have raised a national charter of demands which includes the demand for a monthly minimum wage of Rs 26,000, and equal wages for equal work.

This charter was put forward at the national convention of women construction workers organised on 6th November by the Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI) in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. Around 200 women construction workers from several states participated in the convention, demanding redressal of the manifold problems they face at the workplace.

Women construction workers number about 70 lakh. They are paid 30-40 percent less than men for the same work. Irrespective of the number of years they work, women are considered unskilled workers, earn low wages and face the risk of losing jobs. To add to this, they face sexual harassment in the workplace. They do not have access to toilet facilities. There are no creches for their children. The National Creche Scheme is not being implemented because of drastic cuts in the budgetary allocation by the central government in 2017 and thereafter.

Other demands in the charter put forward by the women workers include:

– effective implementation of the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1996

– medical insurance for enrolled workers, maternity benefits and pension after 55 years

– free treatment for registered workers at private and government hospitals during minor and major illnesses or accidents

– financial aid to women workers for the education of their children

– proper implementation of the 2006 National Creche Scheme

– adequate compensation for natural and accidental deaths permanent disabilities, marriage support and maternity benefits.

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