Provincial coalition advocates for provision of day care facilities and other benefits to women workers at industries.
Women are working in registered and unregistered industries that lack facilities for women workers such as day care centres, maternity leaves with benefits, separate washrooms, non-availability of unions and non-compliance with minimum wage standards. These workplace issues are linked with the objectives of Enhancing Women Workers’ Access to Markets (EWAM) project.
Fizza Saeed is one such industrial worker from Lahore who is deprived of her rights at the workplace, her right to provision of maternity leaves with benefits, day care facility, minimum wage, and unionization. She was looking for a platform to highlight these issues with the relevant government authorities.
SANGAT Development Foundation (SDF) in consultation with other civil society organizations formed a provincial coalition of women workers comprising of 335 institutions from private, public and industrial sectors in Faisalabad, Lahore, Rahim Yar Khan and Sialkot. Being an industrial worker, Fizza came to know about SDF and their provincial coalition. She became eager to join the efforts in providing rights to women workers. After getting briefing from SDF on the role of provincial coalition, Fizza joined the women workers’ provincial coalition and committed herself to stand for the rights of women workers. The women workers’ provincial coalition found that the workplaces in Lahore lack day care facility. This issue was also highlighted by Fizza being a representative of industrial women workers.
This issue was discussed in the review and planning meeting of women workers’ provincial coalition and it was decided to launch a campaign to highlight the issue of non-availability of day care facility that women workers are facing at their workplaces. Fizza became part of the campaign launched by SDF in Lahore, ‘Establishment of Day Care Center at Workplaces’. Initially the issue was raised in the meetings with the authorities as well as through written communication. The meetings were held with officials of various government departments such as trade and commerce, women development, labor department, ministry of law, local government, social welfare, etc. All relevant officials ensured full cooperation in providing day care facilities in public and private institutions including industries.
With the efforts of the provincial coalition, authority at the labor department committed to include the section of facilities for women in the labor inspection checklist to ensure implementation of the law. Similarly, Ministry of trade and commerce ensured that they will notify every department under the ministry to set up day care centers. As a result of provincial coalition’s efforts, a notification was issued by the office of secretary trade and commerce department Punjab that instructed the Managing Director of Small Industries Corporation Lahore, Chief Operating Officer of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chief Operating Officer Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority to ensure establish day care centers and other benefits to women workers. Fizza was part of all the advocacy meetings and remained committed to persist efforts of working for women rights through women workers’ alliance. She believed that the women workers’ alliance and provincial coalition is the right platform for women workers to come together and raise collective voice to demand their workplace rights.