Minimum wage rule fails to protect female workers from exploitation

BIRGUNJ: Although the government has fixed a minimum wage, female workers in the agricultural sector face extreme labour exploitation.

Cases of female labour exploitation can be witnessed around rural areas neighbouring the country’s trade hub, Birgunj.

The government has mandated a minimum wage of Rs 395 per day. However, females toiling in the paddy fields in Parsa and surrounding regions are bound to work for either five kgs of paddy or Rs 100.

After a day’s work in the paddy fields, landlords either give us five kgs of paddy or Rs 100, as per their discretion, a worker, Sabila Khatun informed.

On the other hand, authorities responsible for implementation of minimum wage and monitoring have turned a blind eye to the issues.

Moreover, the government has established a Regional Labour Office in Birgunj to deal with problems arising in the sector. However, the officers at the office are quick to accept failure in monitoring the situation.

Majority of workers in the fields are females as the male workers deny working at lower wages, local Harey Krishna Yadav said. Moreover, it is an old norm to give five kgs of paddy in wages, he added.

When questioned on the exploitations faced by females working in fields, Chief at District labour Office, Radhe Shyam Jha said that the office was unable to take actions unless a written comp[laint was lodged by the workers.

Lack of manpower has hindered the office from carrying out effective monitoring on the implementation of minimum wage rule, Jha added.