PPI KARACHI - Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) has demanded the government to raise wages of glass bangle workers and other home-based women workers besides giving them the facility of medical treatment at government expenses.

Addressing a consultative meeting hosted by the HBWWF in Hyderabad and attended by the representatives of factory and home-based workers, glass bangle factory owners and officials of trade unions and Sindh labor department, HBWWF general secretary Zehra Khan said the glass bangle industry of Hyderabad has attained impressive growth and profitability, but sadly a large number of home-based workers, especially women, are still deprived of their basic rights.

She said a male home-based worker of this field earns from Rs200 to Rs250 daily by working 16 to 17 hours; however, a female home-based workers despite working along with her children hardly gets Rs200 daily.

Khan said the workers of glass bangle industry are deprived of social security, EOBI, pension and other facilities and they also do not have the right to make their labor unions and collective bargaining agents. The exploitative system of contract labor is running this sector and there is no mechanism to save the interests of workers.

However, speaking on the occasion, the representative of workers said they work at their own homes, using their own gas, electricity and other utilities but still they do not get adequate wages. They said they work with dangerous chemicals and face different diseases but the government or the factory owners do not provide them healthcare facilities. They said an agreement was signed in 1976 about their wages but it is yet to be implemented.

However, Saleem Khan, the representative of Glass Bangle Manufacturing Association, said they would try to solve the problems of workers and contractors. He said the piece rate wages of workers are increased every year.

Officials of labor department urged both parties to agree upon the minimum wages so that the Sindh Wage Board could issue a notification about them. However, the meeting participant expressed serious concern over shortage of gas. The workers warned if the gas supply to the industry was not resumed they would launch a protest campaign.