KATHMANDU: Citing that the government has failed to address their demands within the set deadline, the employees of the local bodies have decided to resume their strike beginning tomorrow.
The Local Bodies’ Joint Movement Central Coordination Committee, comprising the Local Body Employees’ Union, Nepal National Personnel Association, VDC Employees’ Union, Nepal Municipal Employees’ Association and Local Body Employees’ Association, have announced the stir.
After a series of protests, they had withdrawn their agitation on December 27, following an assurance from the government to resolve their problem by January 17. But as the deadline served by them has elapsed, without the response from the government, they have decided to renew their stir, Demanding for trade union rights, promotion, recruitment exam system and equal facilities commensurate with the civil servants, the employees had launched their indefinite stir on December 15, according to Ganga Dhar Gautam, president of the Local Body Employees’ Union.
“We are compelled to indefinitely obstruct all the activities in the local bodies, except ambulance services and fire engines throughout the country until our demands are met,” he said. It may be recalled here that on December 27, the government had formed a 5-member ministerial panel and a task force to resolve the issue.
Since two years, the LBJMCCC has been organising protest programmes demanding for equal facilities enjoyed by the civil servants. They also demand that all those temporary employees who have served till mid-July 2009, be appointed to permanent positions. Local bodies are vital government institutions from where people can experience the existence of the government through service delivery. The local bodies deal with a host of issues, ranging from registration of birth and death to recommendations for the issuance of citizenship and passports.
According to the Ministry of Local Development, the draft of the fourth amendment to the Local Self-Governance Regulation, addressing a majority of their demands, was tabled in the cabinet about four months ago. However, it is learnt that the proposal is gathering dust in the Cabinet.
A series of agreements, one after another, were signed at various points of time. The then ministers Dev Gurung, Ram Chandra Jha and Purna Kumar Sherma has signed separate agreements in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively. Then came another written agreement, which was signed on November 12, 2008. This was followed by another deal signed on July 17, 2009. The last agreement that the government signed was on December 27, assuring the agitating local bodies’ employees that their demands would be met within 21 days.
Krishna Gyawali, member-secretary of the government talks team, said that they had already submitted the draft proposal for amendment to the regulation to the ministerial team. He, however, said that the team is yet to table the draft at the cabinet for its final approval.
Gyawali, meanwhile, assured the agitating local body employees that the proposal would be approved by the cabinet soon and urged the local body unions to call off their protest plan. The ministerial team is headed by Local Development Minister Purna Kumar Sherma. The team members include Finance Minister Surendra Pandey, Minister for Law and Justice Prem Bahadur Singh, Minister for Public Administration Rabindra Shrestha ‘Prabhakar Pradhanang’ and Krishna Gyawali, secretary at the MoLD.
There are 75 District Development Committees, 3,915 Village Development Committees and 58 municipalities across the country. About 35,000 staffers, including about 7,000 temporary staffs, are employed in the local bodies, according to the local body employees unions.