Labour laws need a fresh look, feel experts

Kathmandu, August 2:

Chandi Raj Dhakal, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), inaugurated the Employers Conference 2007 on ‘Labour Market Reforms for Stability and Growth’ in the capital today.

“The traditional concept of labour relations require fundamental changes now. There is a need to promote a new work culture to survive and prosper in the competitive era,” Dhakal said.

He added that FNCCI is working closely with the government and trade unions to come up with viable reforms in the labour sector, policies, institutional mechanism and to foster good labour relations.

“During the last decade, we have experienced socio-economic changes at the international and national level,” Rabindra Shrestha, chairman, Employeers’ Council of FNCCI said, while welcoming the participants.

“The meet may help pave the way in forming policy and legislative reforms and introduce significant changes in socio-economic situations of Nepal,” he said, adding that most countries in the world have undergone transformation due to globalisation, market liberalisation and advancement and diffusion of information technology. All these have brought, both threats and opportunities.

“Nepal has also seen a see change in the labour market,” he said. “Political, economic and social changes are necessitating new changes in labour policy, laws, relations and wage policies.”

Since labour reform is one of the priorities for FNCCI, it has facilitated a dialogue for labour law reform.

Employers have felt the need for balance of interest between investors and the labour force to establish industrial peace and stability.

“Currently, industrial relation in Nepal is passing through a critical phase. It needs holistic reform to ensure stability and make the industrial relation system functional,” shrestha said.

Similarly, Shengjie Li, director at the ILO office, Nepal, agreed that globalisation has brought new changes to public policy approach.

“In a globalised world with intensified competition, labour markets work best when there is an institutional environment that allows adjustment flexibility for firms while ensuring income, social and employability protection for workers,” he said.

Prof Dinesh P Chapagain, president of Network for Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness — Nepal, presenting a working paper on ‘Enhancing Competitiveness and Economic Growth through Labour Policy Reform,’ highlighted the gradual development of labour market in Nepal and its opportunities and threats to local economy.

Binod Shrestha, trade union representative and Prajol Aryal, the representative from the ministry of labour also spoke on the occasion. The conference was organised by FNCCI in association with ILO.