Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday made a strong pitch for ending a legal ban which prevents women workers from doing night shifts in factories.
Pinarayi said the CPI(M)-led LDF government headed by him is planning to grant permission to women workers to do night shifts beyond 7 pm as it would help empower women.
"We talk about equality but a ban is in place preventing women workers to do work between 7 pm and 6 am. This is not good for a society like ours. If men can work between 7 pm and 7 am, women can also work in these hours," he said inaugurating the two-day Global Investors Meet here.
Pinarayi, who is also a senior leader of the CPI(M), said his government is planning to permit women factory workers to do night duty.
"I think such a step is necessary as part of empowering women," he said.
The chief minister said the employers should bring women-friendly facilities in the factories for women working in the night shifts.
They should ensure safe stay and travel of women working in night shifts, he added.
Last year, the Karnataka government had issued a notification allowing women to work in night shifts (7 pm to 6 am) in all factories registered under the factories act.
The Karnataka government, in the notification, had cited Madras High Court judgement striking down Section 66(1) (b) of the Factories Act, 1948, which prohibited employment of women to work in night shifts.
Section 66(1)(b) of the Factories Act, 1948 states that no woman shall be required or allowed to work in any factory except between 6 am and 7 pm.
In 2015, Kerala High Court had ordered that women employees cannot be asked to do nigh shifts extending beyond 10 pm.