Nepal | October 17, 2019

Lawmakers divided over trade union

Issue of union for army, police personnel raised

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, August 7

Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties are divided over the government’s proposal to continue and legitimise official trade union of civil servants.

In today’s meeting of the Parliamentary State Affairs and Good Governance Committee, some lawmakers spoke in favour of the government’s proposal, while others were of the view that government employees were not workers and that their trade union should be scrapped. Some lawmakers suggested renaming ‘trade union’ as ‘union’.

Lawmakers in opposition of the proposal put forth in the Federal Civil Service Bill said if government employees were to be considered as workers, who would then be the employers. They also said if civil servants were allowed to form trade unions, police and army personnel should also be allowed to form their trade unions.

Lawmakers of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), including Ram Kumari Jhakri, Navaraj Silwal and Jhapat Bahadur Rawal expressed differing views. Lawmakers of the main opposition Nepali Congress, including Amresh Kumar Singh, Dila Sangraula and Devendra Raj Kandel were also divided over the issue.

While Silwal and Rawal from the NCP spoke in support of trade union, Jhakri was opposed to it. Amresh Kumar Singh of the NC said trade union was not required, whereas Sangroula and Kandel said trade unions played vital role in protecting rights of the workers.

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party Lawmaker Prem Suwal said the proposal to continue and legitimise trade union was against the constitution.

Minister of Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Raut said the proposal to have trade union was in line with the constitutional provision.

Other lawmakers said the provision of trade union should be adopted whereby civil servants up to certain level were allowed to be involved in union activities.

NCP lawmakers including Pampha Bhusal and Khaga Raj Adhikari, expressed such views. While Bhusal was for allowing drivers and office assistants to be involved in trade union, Adhikari said government officials above officer level should be barred from unionism.

Amid differing views the meeting of the Parliamentary committee could not take a decision today.


A version of this article appears in print on August 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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