Women construction workers should be provided with financial assistance during and after pregnancy. At the same time, there should be toilet facilities for them at the construction sites.
Also, the government should invest in skills development programmes for them so that they do not face any wage discrimination.
Speakers said these at a roundtable yesterday. Organised by Prothom Alo in association with Seven Rings Cement, the roundtable titled “Women workers in construction industry” was held at the Bangla daily's office in the capital.
State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu said the labour law should be implemented strictly to ensure workers' rights.
Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS), said workers have to pay a contractor to get a job at a construction site. As a result, the already ill-paid workers have to spend a portion of their wages, making it difficult for them to survive.
Sabina Sultana, senior programme officer at the multi-sectoral programme on violence against women under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, said women workers should also seek assistance by calling the helpline "109". The toll-free number helps women and children who fall victims to different forms of violence.
Nasimun Ara Huq, president of Bangladesh Nari Sangbadik Kendra (centre for women journalists), said accommodation facilities should be provided to the construction workers, especially women. Also, there should be a registration process for them, which will help them receive any sort of compensation without a hassle.
She said women workers were paid less than their male counterparts.
Abdur Razzak, general secretary of Imarat Nirman Sramik Union Bangladesh, said there should be a policy ensuring timely payment of the workers.
Syeda Munira Sultana, programme officer (RMG project) of International Labour Organization, said most of the women are victims of occupational diseases.
While working at construction sites, they suffer from various construction-related health hazards including breathing problems, hearing loss and skin diseases, she added.
Asadul Haque Sufyani, chief marketing officer of Seven Rings Cement, said construction workers should be provided with personal safety gears such as helmets, boots and vests. Shamsul Alamin, president of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), also stressed the need for a proper guideline for ensuring workers' rights such as compensations and benefits.
Abdul Quayum, associate editor of Prothom Alo, moderated the roundtable.