Bhopal : Decks have been cleared for night shifts for deploying women workers in the factories in Madhya Pradesh. On the condition of providing women workers security and additional facilities, the State Government has given a free hand and authority in this connection. This action has been taken in the background of a decision given in this connection by the Madras High Court. As per the decision, women workers can be deployed in factories in the night shift from 10 pm to 5 am.Conditions laid down for night shift
The State Government has also laid down terms and conditions with the new decision. As per the order, it will be responsibility of the factory employer or the person authorised by him to ensure that women workers are not sexually harassed at the workplace. In case such an incident occurs, they will have to provide its details for initiating prosecution process. It has been made explicitly clear in this connection that sexual harassment will include physical contact or closeness, demand for sexual consent, eve-teasing, showing pornographic material and all such unwanted physical, verbal or silent behaviours.
Factory employers will also have to frame rules
It has also been mentioned in terms and conditions that factory owners will also have to frame rules and regulations for prevention of sexual harassment related behaviour and ensuring discipline. Accordingly, arrangements will have to be made for fitting punishment to the erring employee apart from amending the standing orders prevalent in the factory presently. Similarly, it will also have to be ensured for providing clean working conditions, good environment during the holidays and for winning the trust of the women employees, it will also be necessary to ensure that their employment is not endangered.
In case a crime is committed, the employers will have to initiate fitting action against the accused without delay. They will also have to ensure that the victim of sexual harassment or her witness is not harassed and the action should be taken impartially. On the demand of woman worker, her shift will have to be changed.
Besides, employers will have to make arrangements for hearing of complaints and their time-bound redressal. If necessity is felt, a committee comprising trust-worthy advisors can also be constituted. The chairperson of this committee will be a woman and 50 percent of its members will comprise women. As a member, the committee will also have a representative of non-government organisation, who is well versed in the process undertaken in sexual harassment cases.
Facilities determined for women workers
In this connection, the State Government has also fixed terms and conditions. They include giving information about instructions and directives for creating awareness among women workers about their rights, full cooperation and assistance to the sexual harassment victim, making proper lighting arrangements in the factory and all those places where women workers will be required to visit frequently during the night shift, deployment of at least ten women workers in one batch, security arrangements at entry and exit points of the factory, deployment of at least two women wardens during the night shift, telephone arrangement, separate vehicle for medical facility if more than 100 women workers are deployed in the night shift, woman warden for food and lodging arrangements, holding a monthly meeting for women workers etc.
Details about women workers should be given to Factory Inspector
A detailed report about women workers deployed in the night shift will have to be provided by the employers to the Factory Inspector concerned every 15 days. Similarly, report about any accident in the factory will also have to be made to the Factory Inspector concerned and the police station concerned immediately.