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Women work at Herat wool plants against low wages

Women work at Herat wool plants against low wages

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On
Aug 09, 2017 - 18:53

HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): Women working in wool and cashmere factories in western Herat province complain about low wages and demand early solution to the issue.

The women extract and clean wool and cashmere used in making carpets and clothes. Bibi Gul 40, who works at a private wool company from 5:00am to 5:00pm, said she used a mask to cover her face from chemical and other type of dangerous substance.

She said she had been working in the company for the past 16 years and had no one at home to earn money. She was paid 160 afs against 12 hours of work on a daily basis.

“I fear the company may fire me if I raise the question of low salary,” said Bibi Gul, an asthma patient.  She deplored her 160 afghani daily income was not enough to allow her to visit a doctor.

Mother of Ali Ahmad is another woman working in the same wool company from the past four years. “I take 160 afghanis everyday which is nothing but I have no other option,” she said.

Ahmad’s mother said she felt pain in the knees and back, but still she had to come and work.

Zahra Gul, a 60 years-old wool worker, also complained of too much work. “I am obliged to work or remain hungry.”

About her and her colleagues’ health, she said all women cleaned the wool suffered from problems in their feet, back and breathing.

“These women have been working here for years. Despite problematic environment, they receive very less income.”

Crak Ziaratjah, the wool cleaning company in the Herat industrial park, has hired 12 men and 90 women.

Abdul Wahed Habibzada, owner of the company, confirmed women endured hard labor and were paid a small salary. But he said his company provided two times meal to the workers free of cost.

“These women are old and cannot perform other tasks, the salary we pay them is more compared to their productivity,” he said.

Provincial Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) head, Abdul Qadir Rahimi, told Pajhwok that the government should resolve the problem immediately.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a mechanism so far for a fair calculation of salaries of workers based on working hours, that is the reason employers misuse economic needs of workers,” he said.

Herat labor and social affairs head, Abdul Qayum Afghan, said they always watched working conditions of female employees at factories. “If the working condition is hard, the companies and factories are treated based on the law”, he said.

Provincial deputy public health director, Mohammad Asif Kabir, said wool cleaning could cause skin diseases and tuberculosis. “Those who work in wool cleaning or involved in similar activities are prone to a lot of health problems,” he said.

According to Afghanistan’s labor law, employers should provide all necessary materials including special clothes, footwear, masks, eyeglasses, gloves and other protection tools to workers free of cost.

nh/mds/ma

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