-  Thursday 01 October 2020

Trade unions demand social security

KATHMANDU, Jan 31 - Three major trade unions of the country have stated that they are willing to accept any changes in the labor law provided the government guarantees social security of workers employed in various sectors.
Addressing a press meet at Reporters' Club at Kathmandu today, representatives of Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) and Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (DECONT) said that the unions were not opposing introduction of flexibility in the labor market, but against the practice of making changes in the law without consulting trade unions.

"Laborers are not against provisions such as hire and fire and no work, no pay. If the government can guarantee compensation for workers who are fired under such circumstances, we are ready to accept the decision," said Vice President of GEFONT, Bishnu Rimal. "But the urgency expressed by the government and threats to endorse the act arbitrarily suggest it is hatching plots to exploit rights of workers in the name of amendments."

Addressing the function, Laxman Basnet, president of NTUC said that if the government wants flexibility in the labor market it has to be able to guarantee social security of workers. "Encompassing these two can sometimes be difficult and requires lots of consulting. But the government's behavior suggests that it wants to draw a conclusion without taking the trade unions into confidence," he said.

As per the law, labor act cannot be amended without holding tripartite consultation between the employees' organization, employers' organization and the government.

"Based on this, we have been holding discussions for the last two years with Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI). And to some extent we had managed to narrow down differences. 19-point understanding and another 16-point understanding signed between FNCCI and trade unions on January 2005 and during the second national labor conference, respectively, stand evidence to prove this," said General Secretary of DECONT, Khilanath Dahal. "But disregarding all these developments the incumbent government is trying to amend the law without consulting labor unions."

Speaking on the occasion, Megh Nath Neupane, a representative of FNCCI said that amendment in labor act was necessary to lure foreign investment, enhance productivity of industries and increase competition in the labor market. "We have the most rigid law in South Asia and an amendment is required but the change should be made through social dialogue," he said.

The Kathmandu Post

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