Treat women workers with dignity – Dabindu Collective
By Eunice Ruth
The Government should take the responsibility of garment industry women workers, in providing them with quarantine facilities and health facilities at the quarantine centres, while conducting the quarantine process in a proper manner, by handling the workers with dignity, said the Programme Coordinator of the Dabindu Collective, Chamila Thushari.
Speaking at a Media briefing held yesterday (15), she claimed that the Government and the military have handled the women workers in a problematic manner, with a lack of clear information and awareness, the provision of unsafe transportation and unsanitary quarantine facilities, while they had also failed to conduct polymerase chain reaction tests prior to loading the workers onto buses. They have not adhered to any of the COVID-19 guidelines which were regulated by the health authorities, she further alleged.
The garment industry workers and manpower workers are particularly vulnerable to the rapid spread of the virus due to the other workers and their shared accommodation in close proximity to one another, she added.
While speaking about the quarantine centre in Kalutara, a Member of RED Sri Lanka, Chandra Dewanarayan, suggested that it would be better to keep them inside their boarding rooms by strictly following quarantine rules, as the quarantine centres are not even provided with basic facilities such as sanitary facilities, water, proper food and mandatory health facilities. She also said that even if they have not been infected with COVID-19, there are possibilities of contracting the infection, due to the unawareness and improper treatment at the quarantine centre.
There are several abandoned buildings and factories within the Katunayake Free Trade Zone and the Government can make those places into quarantine centres for the workers, rather than sending them to a place like this, and they can also use the Air Force camp as a quarantine centre, Dewanarayan proposed.
The Government continues to maintain that the outbreak has not yet progressed to a community transmission level, but without conducting widespread random testing, this news cannot be viewed as accurate, Thushari noted, adding that currently, in the wake of the virus spread, it has become the sole responsibility of the public to protect themselves and to take precautions, as it is very unclear as to how widespread the virus is in the community.