Labour disputes on the rise

KATHMANDU: The government data has painted a gloomy picture of industrial and service sectors with sharp rise in labour-owner disputes. According to the Department of Labour (DoL), around 150 cases of labour dispute were listed in the first four months of the current fiscal year — 38.96 per cent of last year’s total 385.

“Labour-owner relationship is deteriorating day by day” said Binod Kumar Adhikari, director general of the department. “It is a worrisome situation.” He urged labourers and owners to be honest and responsible to reduce the disputes. “If both parties are honest about labour laws, the disputes will reduce significantly,” he said.

However, he refused to say which labour union is creating havoc in industrial sectors of the nation. “I can’t blame any specific organization or industry. It should be judged on a case basis,” he said. This is certain that drastic changes are needed in labour-owner relationship for prosperity, he explained.

Of the 385 labour disputes listed the previous year, 203 were organizational and 182 were individual cases. DoL had solved 122 and 148 cases, respectively. In the first four months of the current fiscal year, 150 cases — 92 individual and 58 organizational — were registered at DoL and the department managed to solve 63 cases — 22 individual and 41 organizational.

The department has been facing huge pressure of labour disputes as irresponsible behaviour is growing in the industrial sector. Turning back from previous agreements is a major problem of the industrial sector and it is fueling new disputes, an officer of DoL said on condition of anonymity. “Both parties (labourers and owners) are doing this frequently, betraying the previous agreements,” he said.

Industries in Kathmandu Valley have been facing labour-related problems more than other areas. According to DoL, industries in Kathmandu Valley witnessed 37 cases followed by Biratnagar industrial corridor (34) and Birgunj industrial corridor (24) between mid-July and mid-November 2009. The same ratio was recorded the last fiscal year.

Nepali industrial

sectors — manufacturing, tourism, trade and others — experienced 57 strikes and 59 lockouts in 2008-09 while two strikes and three lockouts were recorded in the first four months of the current fiscal year.