Taxi rally drives home global labour norms

Kathmandu, October 19:

On the last day of the International Transport Workers’ Week, hundreds of transport workers today organised a taxi rally demanding that the working hours for transport

workers be fixed below 48 hours a week.

Nepali transport workers have long been raising the issue of long and irregular working hours in the transport sector. They have been complaining that the tiring and long working hours have become one of the major reasons for road accidents as long working hours exhaust the drivers.

Addressing a meeting that followed the rally, senior vice president of Nepal Trade Union Congress Puskar Acharya said such programmes would continue to press the government to ratify the ILO Convention 153, that fixes the working hours of transport workers.

Claiming that the government had shown no interest to ratify the convention, Acharya warned the government of strong protest programmes. “Workers in USA, Britain and India have also been fighting to get the convention ratified. While the countries like Switzerland, and Spain have ratified the convention and formulated acts to implement it.”

The taxi rally that started from Tinkune had converged into a mass meeting at Airport. During the function, president of All Nepal Transport Workers’ Association Ajay Kumar Rai demanded the government to ensure rights of the transport workers.

To create pressure on the government to ratify the convention, transport workers have been organising such programmes since 1997. Rai said transport workers also organised rallies and mass meetings in Dharan, Pokhara and Tanahun as well.