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1 Sep 2014

Apoorva Kaiwar, Economic & Political Weekly

India: Assessing impact of amendments to the Factories Act on women workers

The central government is proposing to amend several labour laws..look[ing]at some of the amendments to the Factories Act1through which women workers will be specifically affected...The logic that a factory has to employ a certain number of people for it to be governed by the Factories Act, and for its workers to get facilities such as toilets and drinking water, begs the question as to why the most vulnerable of workers – those working in small factories – should be lawfully deprived of even their basic rights as worker...The removal of restrictions on women workers has been done in two ways – one, in allowing women to work in some operations which was not allowed earlier, such as cleaning, lubricating and ­adjusting prime-mover or transmission machinery and pressing cotton where a cotton opener is at work,3 and two, in removing the restriction on women to work at night. Whether this removal of restrictions will help women is a moot point.