|FTZ workers march for rights ( photo ftzunion lanka)|
Women wing of Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union commemorate the 103rd International Women Day on 09th March 2014 at Katunayake free trade zone in high spirits with the participation over 1000 members including 3 Km. road march to the hall in front of the main zonal entrance.
The whole area seems to be a purples lace which was decorated by the purple banners cutouts flags which the symbolic color of the feminine .
The main theme was ensure the social dignity of the working women and it was observed the only rally and the IWD commemoration the working women who came from the Northern province , Plantation , Eastern Province , and Down South and Colombo who raises the voices in their own language urging to protect their rights .
Once the rally reached to the main venue the season started by lighting a traditional oil lamp and the crowed was welcome by the leader of the women wing of the FTZ&GSEU and on her speech she did not forgot to add the history of the international women day and the Clare Zeltzin too
This was not only a traditional rally which limited to the speeches but shows to a concert which brought out the talents of the women workers related to their own cultures including the folk dances , songs , and there a major role was played by the union Western band by amusing the tiresome participants who had March nearly 3 Km. under the hot sun
The event drag around 3.00 p.m and there was an opportunity give to the representatives of the participants to explore their own problems and issues pertaining to the workplace , culture , society , even home not only as a woman but also as working woman.
|FTZ women on Womens day ( photo ftzunion lanka)|
It is common to talk of and argue on the premise that over 51 per cent of the population consists of females. Also, it is often said by the government and especially by apparel sector manufacturers, that women contribute more to this economy. Yet there are no other social segments like women and children who live through extremely degrading and threatening situations. This is borne out by numbers of rape, sexual harassments, molestations and abuse of both women and children, counted in thousands over the years.
This defaming and threatening mindset on women in society, creeps into policy making and into workplaces too. In places where a majority or a recognisable number are women, sexual insults, coercions, humiliations, harassments and even molestations have developed as a silent, workplace culture.
Also, for working mothers, security and safety of their little children is a serious problem with no adequate answer. This is one reason why free trade zones, industrial parks and especially the apparel sector can not retain skilled female labour for long. Increasing numbers of vacancies in these areas is also a reflection of this serious issue.
We are therefore adopting our resolutions on this international women’s day, as alternate answers to this grave injustice the working women are living with today.
1. In Sri Lanka where the Constitution accepts all as equals leaving no differences between ethnic, religious, gender or any other divisions, there can not and should not be any anomaly in wages for equal work and we therefore resolves, equal pay for equal work for all should be the only principle in wage policy.
2. As a member country of ILO and as a State that has signed ILO Conventions, we resolve this government should without delay ratify the new ILO Convention on maternity benefits and apply same without any difference or anomaly to all in private, public, semi government and in co-operative sectors.
3. As the BOI-SL has allowed numerous financial and other benefits including waver of duty fees and taxes at the expense of the public, to all factories and companies approved by it, the issue of lack of modern childcare facilities for children of working women that also stands as one reason for increasing vacancies, we resolve should be immediately solved through establishment of modern childcare facilities that should include pre schools, medical and child recreational facilities, all managed and served by well trained and efficient persons
4. We firmly believe the absence of complaints on sexual insults, coercions, humiliations, harassments and even molestations at workplaces is mainly due to lack of a complaint mechanism, the victim whether women or children could have trust on and thus allows for further cultivation of same leading to even management violence in insisting production targets are met without compromise that demands we resolve the immediate constitution of complaints committees in every factory and workplace, headed by recognised and educated women and with adequate legal powers to decide on disciplinary punishments and further legal investigations where necessary.
– From the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union