Building upon more than ten years of advocacy by Cividep-India, FLA commissioned this study into the provision and quality of legally mandated childcare in Bangalore’s garment factories. The study was initiated on a simple premise: that quality childcare is a necessity, not just for the safety and security of the children, but for the stable growth of an industry besieged by heavy labor turnover among women – who constitute the bulk of the workforce.
This study is based on a survey of 300 women workers employed at 60 garment manufacturing factories. The survey was conducted in February and March 2012 by leaders of the women’s organization Munnade and the all-women Garment Labor Union (GLU). The survey findings suggest a number of factors inhibiting women from using crèche facilities where they exist, and that age restrictions imposed by the factories exclude many children under the age of six who are left unsupervised or with inadequate care.
Of the 300 survey respondents:
· 38 percent were working in a garment factory while pregnant
· 30 percent received paid leave during maternity
· 59 percent were aware that the provision of a crèche by their employers was legally mandated. Only 30 percent had enrolled their children in the factory crèches
From the report: “The findings of the study indicate that the degree of choice that women workers have in relation to their childcare decisions is highly limited; decisions are made not based on the quality of care but on its mere availability and affordability. Professional training of childcare workers, regular informational inputs, and monitoring and accreditation of factory crèches…would raise the overall standards of childcare provided to working-class families…Over time, the professionalization of childcare would create a healthier, more stable foundation for children’s development and integration into formal education.”
Findings of the study were presented at a multi-stakeholder round-table organized by Cividep, Samvada and FLA, and in collaboration with the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights on June 5, 2012. The meeting brought together welfare officers at local manufacturers, corporate social responsibility managers at brand companies, the Assistant Labor Commissioner, community activists working for workers’ and women’s rights, and trade union leaders. The group resolved to continue exploring constructive ways to collaborate by forming a Working Group on Childcare.