3.1. Trainings on labour rights to community members
Vaan Muhil organizes public education programs on labour rights at community level – for adolescent girls groups and for community support groups in the working villages. Young working women try to understand on aspects of labour rights such as working hours, minimum wage, health and safety measures, freedom of movement and so on. The Film Based Curriculum, designed to educate the adolescent working girls and community members, is a tool for them.
The community members, after attending the trainings, begin to understand various dimensions of mill work, involving the adolescent girls and young women. They are able to understand the aspirations of these working adolescent girls, besides the hardships and ordeal they undergo in the mill during working hours. “Call me Priya” creates ripples in their minds and the members begin to grasp the overall issue, revolving around mill related work and its far reaching implications. They are able to raise questions about modern forms of bonded labour in textile sector, basic information about workers’ rights, minimum wages, working hours and health and safety issues.
Regular meetings are organized for Community Support Groups to drive the message home, i.e, sexual harassment, importance of girl child education and the role of CSG members in preventing young workers from entering high risk exploitative work situation. By way of creating awareness on labour rights and Vaan Muhil’s interventions, four page IEC materials in simple Tamil have been developed and distributed among the members.
3.2. Legal Support services to the survivors
Vaan Muhil provides legal support services to the victims of labour exploitation by assisting them in preparation of the complaints / petitions and accompanying them to follow up the cases. The organization was actively involved in the state level public hearing held in Chennai in 2018, organized by the Tamil Nadu State Women Commission.
Totally 50 working women have received legal support and 35 have received compensation amount (to the tune on 50 lakhs) for PF and other statutory benefits from the employers.
In the cases of two deaths in the mills that were taken up in the Public Hearing in Chennai, petitions have been sent to the State Women Commission once again to intervene in their matters so that the victims could get the remaining compensation amount at the earliest. The State Women Commission had sent letters to the Superintendent of Police, Vidudhu Nagar on 19.02.2019, directing the SP to register an FIR in these two cases.