Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Nepal

JILAF held a two-day seminar on industrial relations and labour policy in Kathmandu, Nepal, on December 6–7 for the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), and the All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF), which are all affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Sixty-eight people participated. (Due to the political situation, ANTUF did not take part.)
As well as JILAF, the NTUC, and GEFONT, the opening ceremony was attended by representatives from the Nepalese Ministry of Employment and Labour, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Japanese Embassy in Nepal. The speakers expressed concern about the prolonged domestic instability and their expectations of the seminar.
In the seminar, the JILAF representative delivered a lecture titled “Socioeconomic Development and the Social Role of Trade Unions,” in which he shared information about such issues as (1) worldwide changes brought about by globalization and the position of Nepal (a key country in a potentially huge economic zone consisting also of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and other nations), (2) environmental changes surrounding workers brought about by globalization and the present economic conditions of Asian countries and future outlook, and (3) macroeconomic growth, improvement of the livelihood and working conditions of union members, the movement to improve productivity, the labour-management consultation system and collective bargaining, and organizational management emphasizing dialogue with union members in the workplace. He went on to explain that Japan’s experience in the transformation of industrial relations (striking a balance between cooperation through labour-management consultations and confrontation through collective bargaining) would be useful in responding to industrial relations, which are becoming increasingly complex together with the advancing global economy, and encourage the participants to make efforts to build constructive industrial relations and further develop the labour movement in Nepal.
From the Nepalese side, Mr. Uday Kumar Gupta, a senior factory inspector at the Ministry of Employment and Labour, spoke about industrial relations in Nepal, and Mr. Hansa Ram Pandey, head of the FNCCI’s Bureau of Employers’ Activities and Industrial Relations, talked about the history of industrial relations and labour-related legislation in Nepal and the response to globalization. They both stated that in the building of good industrial relations, it is necessary to have a balance between mutual trust and confrontation and for trade unions to contribute to productivity improvement.
Next, NTUC Treasurer Yogendra Kumar Kunwar gave an explanation of the new labour law currently being deliberated in the Nepalese parliament. As characteristic amendments of the new law, he noted that informal-sector workers would be able to join the so-called provision fund, a social security fund, and the establishment of a minimum wage for informal-sector workers would become possible. The participants then engaged in group discussions and mutual presentations on the themes of “Toward the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations” and “Toward Unification of the Nepalese Labour Movement.” Commenting on the presentations, JILAF again emphasized the importance of (1) building relations of mutual trust between labour and management through dialogue, (2) implementing democratic elections of trade union executives, (3) organizing informal-sector workers, and (4) fostering people to serve in senior trade union posts.
In the closing ceremony, JILAF explained the importance of, among others, (1) building relations of trust between trade unions and between labour and management, (2) compiling short-term, medium-term, and long-term roadmaps for the strengthening of trade unions and the labour movement, (3) striking a balance between public assistance, mutual assistance, and self-help for workers, and (4) the three principles of productivity. Finally, JILAF ended the two-day seminar by expressing best wishes for the development of the Nepalese labour movement so as to improve the welfare of the people and working conditions.

Schedule

DateContents
12/06SunSeminar day 1
12/07MonSeminar day 2

Photos of Participants

Lecture by the Nepalese Ministry of Employment and Labour

Lecture by an employers’ organization

Lecture by NTUC Treasurer Yogendra

Group discussions

Group presentation by participants (1)

Group presentation by participants (2)