HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The government, employers and trade unions agreed to build a better industrial environment to create mass employment in the country and reduce the dependency on foreign employment in the National Labour and Employment Conference here today. The three-day conference brings all parties closer to a national consensus on a 15-point agenda on labour and employment but leaders remarked its implementation as ‘commitments to a herculean task for future’.
It is a big achievement in the Nepali labour history where three parties have come together for a conducive industrial environment and to create mass jobs in the country, said director general of Department of Labour Dr Man Bahadur BK while announcing the 15-point declaration. “It has guided the government to facilitate industrial growth through a revision of laws, ensuring the future of workers and creating mass employment,” he said.
He said that the conference had established a foundation to a difficult task of managing different groups — employers and trade unions — for a common goal of a prosperous Nepal. “It has created a challenge for us to work to our commitments and promote investment and employment in the future,” he said. He expressed his commitment to coordinate all stakeholders for the implementation of the agreement.
Minister for Labour and Employment Kumar Belbase urged trade unions and employers to disseminate the agreement at the grassroots level to facilitate the reform process in labour laws and regulations. “It is the duty of all stakeholders to convince their members for change,” he said. The conference has decided to revise labour laws and regulations to make them more effective to solve current problems.
The conference stressed about implementing social security concept in the formal and informal sectors by enforcing the Social Security Act.
“Social security is attached with labour flexibility. Once the workers are secure they can accept ‘Hire and Fire’ and ‘No Work: No Pay’ policies, said president of the pro-Maoist All Nepal Trade Union Federation Shalikram Jammakattel.
Employers also welcomed the declaration saying it has envisioned a better industrial environment by managing labour disputes. “Managing collective bargaining is a good initiative. A majority of labour disputes have been rising in the name of collective bargaining,” said president of Employers’ Council of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Pashupati Murarka.
The three parties have agreed to amend the labour laws and fix a time frame for collective bargaining. Similarly, the agreement has sought an amendment or introduction of new labour and trade union laws to create an investment and industry friendly environment while Social Security Act and formation of Labour Commission are also on the cards.
The conference, which had participation of trade unions, labour experts, government officials and employers, has decided to organise the National Employment Conference in the next fiscal to manage the foreign employment sector and explore potential job sectors for foreign job aspirants or returnee migrant workers. About 3.5 million Nepalis are believed to be working in foreign lands.
According to the Department of Foreign Employment data, 480,990 Nepalis have left the country in the last 11 months seeking jobs. Lack of employment opportunities at home has forced the youth to join foreign jobs and the trend has significantly increased in the last two decades.