WWA brings solace for women workers in retail market
Sobia Solangi is a resident of Rohri district in Sukkur, who works as a sales girl in an outlet of renowned clothing brand ‘Junaid Jamshed – J.’. She has been working there since five years now while supporting her family of six comprising of her parents and siblings. She has an overall experience of 10 years working as a sales girl at various places. Sobia complains that the management of J. pays her Rs. 15,000/- that is insufficient for her and she is unable to fulfil the basic needs of her family. She often demands the management to raise her salary but nothing changed.
Fortunately, Goth Seengar Foundation (GSF) visited her outlet for women workers’ profiling under Enhancing Women’s Access to Market (EWAM) and briefed her about the project and its objectives. Sobia said, “It was very surprising for us to know that there are labor laws for women rights. The information provided by GSF helped us in understanding that under the law we can speak up for raise in our salary, if it doesn’t meet the minimum standards.”
Sobia was invited to attend training for labor rights under EWAM. She was happy and keen to attend the training and get acquainted with the existing labor laws. Sobia was interested in knowing about the minimum wage and how can she legally approach and demand the J. management to raise her salary. After attending the training, Sobia shares, “The training was so informative. They educated us on our labor rights and increased our confidence to raise voice and demand our rights.”
After attending EWAM’s training, Sobia made a promise to herself to fight for women rights. Sobia states, ‘I promised myself that I will raise my voice for our rights. The two main things that I decided to fight for are, minimum wages and anti-harassment committee. Our daily work involves dealing with public male-female customers and male co-workers so an anti-harassment committee should be formed at the shopping mall so that we can file complaint if there is any need.”
The training helped Sobia in discussing the minimum wage matter with her other colleagues and they all collectively went to the management and demanded their right for minimum wage as set by the government. Sobia said, ‘Initially, the management wasn’t happy about it, but they did ask some time to discuss the matter with the head office.” Sobia was delighted to share that the decision from the head office came after a month and her salary was increased. Also she was informed by the management that very soon an anti-harassment committee will also be formed at the shopping mall. The results of the efforts put in by Sobia along with the alliance members, motivated her to continue working for women rights.