The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) on Friday released a set of employment guidelines for textile units. The units can adopt these and go in for audit and certification by British Standards Institute (BSI).
After releasing the guidelines, Kannegi Packianathan, Chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women, told presspersons that the commission would give some time for the units to adopt these and would take up more inspections. The guidelines were different from the one released by the Association in 2010 as it now covered employment of women, migrant, and contract workers and compliance under the Tamil Nadu Hostel and Homes for Women and Children (Regulation) Act, and Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act.
In the earlier code released by SIMA, hostel registration was not covered. “In days to come, we expect more progress,” she said.
About two lakh women are employed in the textile industry in the State and they constitute 75 % of the workforce in the industry in Tamil Nadu.
The Chairperson urged the mills to take care of the emotional health of the women workers as they were living away from their family. There were instances of suicides by workers in the mills.
The management should ensure counselling was provided to the workers. During inspections by the Commission, it was found that though the mills had an Internal Complaints Committee, the number of women approaching it was less. Awareness should be created among the workers about the committee, she said.
Chairman of SIMA P. Nataraj said 25 mills received five star rating adopting the first set of guidelines, which were released by it in 2010. Four mills that adopted the new set of guidelines on a pilot basis had received certification from the BSI. “We have revised the labour code and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the BSI for providing star rating certificates, covering not only women but also the migrant workers. On our request, BSI is taking efforts to get international recognition for the new code of conduct through leading global brands.”
Kumaraswamy Chandrasekaran, Director and Head of Sustainability, BSI Group (India), said the certification would be for two years.
“We have started to make this an international standard. It is a long-drawn process.”
Speaking at a function organised here to release the guidelines, T. Rajkumar, chairman of the Textile Sector Skill Council, requested the Chairperson to take the SIMA code on employment to the State Government for recognition and accreditation so that the textile mills in the unorganised sector in the State too could come forward to comply with the guidelines.