FES-TWARO Seminar Report on Social Security
and Labour Laws
Organised by TWARO
Hetauda (3-4 April), Butwal (5-6 April), and
Dhangadi (8-9 April)
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nepal Office
along with TWARO Council Nepal has organised two-day workshop
in Hetauda, Butwal, and Dhangadi on 3-4 April, 5-6 April, and
8-9 April 2012 respectively. The two days workshop included
participants from Nepal Independent Worker's Union, Nepal Independent
Textiles and Garment Workers Union, Nepal Independent Carpet
Worker's Union, Nepal Factory Workers Union, Nepal Embroidery
Handicrafts and Sewing Knitting Unions, Nepal Carpet Worker's
Unions, and Nepal Garment Worker's Unions. All these unions
are affiliated with GEFONT and NTUC-I.
The programs was attended by zonal and district
level Trade Union Leaders from GEFONT and NTUCI-I. In Hetauda,
Madhusudhan Khatiwada from GEFONT and Tej Bahadur Goddar from
NTUCI-I, in Butwal, Hari Karki from GEFONT and Kajiman Shrestha
from NTUC-I, and finally in Dhangadi, Krishna P Joshi from GEFONT
and Govind Phulara from NTUC-I attended the seminar. Their contribution
In all these three
places, around 120 workers were trained out of which 56 were
female on different issues. Dinesh Rai from GEFONT, Yuba
Raj Lama from NTUCI-I, Tej Prasad Rijal from NTUCI-I and Chandra
D Bhatta from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung conducted the workshops.
The workshop focused on three topics social security, labour
reform, organizational management, and gender justice.
Speaking in the inaugural session, the tendency
to undermine the children of workers and merely prepare them
workers is the biggest problem and this attitude needs to be
changed. Workers (be they are inside our outside the country)
are contributing highest share in the national economy but they
are least paid - this is a real dilemma of Nepali democracy.
In the same vein, speaking in the inaugural
session - Madhusudan Khatiwada said that programmes like this,
where representatives of both trade unions sit together and
initiate discussion about the issues that concern most to the
workers can contribute to the industrial pace and national harmony.
Dinesh Rai argued that we need to have a class-based state not
ethnicity and caste base state.
Majority of the participants in Hetauda said
that this is the best programme they have ever attened, organized
by the trade unions at the grass roots level. Madhusudan Khatiwada
from GEFONT was also of the view that this is one of the best
programme for the local level trade union leaders and workers.
Neha Neupane said that she has learned so
many new things. Rojina Aryl said that she is very happy to
be here in this programme as she has learned about the issues
of gender equality and social security. Sumina Aryal said that
she came to know so many issues about the labour laws. Radheshyam
Sigdel said that he has learned about social security, labour
act, and trade union act. Tialk Pd. Dhakal said that programs
like this should be organised in the factories so that both
employers and employee can get benefit. Bimala Pariyar said
that she liked the programme as the organizers even tired to
address the issues of ladies tailors who does tailoring job
at home. In addition to this, she learned so many new things.
Almost all the participants participated in
the discussion pogramme and tabled their issues.
In Butwal, Hari Karki said that we need to
find out the factories where the labour act is honesty implemented.
I think time has come for us to reflect upon our past endeavours
to improve the conditions of the workers in Nepal.
Dinesh Rai said that the culture of undermining
workers in our society should be discouraged.
Most of the participants in Butwal were more
concerned about securing their trade union rights including
the social ones. One participant asked why workers cases/issues
are not decided in time by the concerned authorities in Nepal.
Laxmi Shrestha asked what is collective bargaining?
She further said that training is necessary to the workers but
the time that has been allocated here is not sufficient. Also
the logistical issues caused some problems in achieving our
goals. Yet, we knew about so many issues in a short span of
Rupa Lacoul said that this is a good programme
as it even tires to address the contribution made by the housewives
in the national economy. It also endeavours to address their
problem by brining unorganized women in to a common platform
which will help them to secure their social security rights.
Usha Shrestha said that she is very happy
for being invited to participate in this progrmame, she, at
least, now can speak in front of people without hesitation.
Padam Bahadur Chhetri said that the time allocated
for the discussion on labour law is not enough. I think we should
have discussed in group suggested Chhetri.
Brij Narayan Yadav said that from this programme
he learned so many new things particularly about the social
security that is in offing. Also the type of work (permanent,
termporry an causuaL) that has been purposed. In the same vein,
the importance being involved in the organisations
Shila Malla said that this is an effective
progrmme but let us now well in advance in the future so that
we can also prepare ourselves for our due contribution in the
Dhangdai - this is the first time that the
FES has organised training programmes for the workers of this
region. For that reason, many participants thanked FES's effort
to include the workers of this region in the national mainstream.
Since this was the first programme many participants
were not aware about the laws that are currently under discussion.
Yet, the level of their enthusiasm was very high. Many local
trade union leaders are not even aware of as how to put trade
Some also expressed their grievances that
they have been working in the factory for eight to ten years
but not yet given the employment letters. Others argued that
the minimum wage has not been implementing. There is huge discrimination
in the wages between men and women for the same work.
Having organized seven programmes from the eastern to the western
part of Nepal, what has been realized that the workers at the
grass-roots level are not even aware of about the basic trade
union rights. The national centre should take up this issue
very seriously. Failing to do so will jeopardize their influence
in society. It clear appears that NGOs have hijacked their agendas
primarily because the trade union leaders are more concentrated
in the centre than to the periphery.
Subjective wise, the programmes have been
great successful in disseminating new labour laws that are under
discussion. Likewise, they also came to know about the link
between economy, politics and the capital.
Programmes like this also help to understand
how both macro and microeconomic policies of the past have downgraded
the work of decent work. The quality work is a source of personal
dignity, family stability, and peace in the community and certainly,
a source of credibility for democratic governance. However,
in too many places we have lost the basic notion that labour
is not a commodity.
The current city-centered growth model merely considers work
way to make profits which does not take into account its social
responsibility. This has to be reversed, if we certainly wanted
to have harmonious state-society and labour-capital relationship.