Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Nepal

JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo delivers an address at the opening ceremony.

JILAF held a two-day seminar on industrial relations and labour policy in Kathmandu, Nepal, on February 6–7 together with the Nepal Affiliate Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-NAC), which comprises the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), and the All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF).

The seminar was attended by 61 officials and leaders of trade unions under the ITUC-NAC. At the opening ceremony, addresses were given by Vice-President Chandra Dhakal of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Secretary Maeshu Prasad Daha of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Security, and representatives of the national centers, all of whom expressed their gratitude to the Japanese government and JILAF for their continued support and cooperation. Next, Councilor Yuzo Yoshioka of the Japanese Embassy in Nepal expressed his appreciation for JILAF’s engagement in various projects in Nepal over the last quarter of a century and touched on the usefulness of the industrial relations and labour policy seminar.

JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo then gave an address on behalf of the organizers, in which he mentioned the significance of the seminar, which brought together the three Nepalese organizations affiliated with the ITUC, and encouraged the participants to make efforts to ensure job stability through the building of constructive industrial relations, which would contribute toward the achievement of goal number eight of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

JILAF Secretary General Ryo Saito then gave a lecture in which he remarked that amid a rising climate in favor of the strengthening of bilateral relations between Japan and Nepal, which had been given further momentum by the visit of Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono to Nepal in January, “The sustained economic development of Nepal, which is located between the countries of South Asia and China, is important not only for the peace and stability of the region as a whole but also for Japan.” He went on to talk about the achievement of job stability through constructive industrial relations nurtured by Japanese labour and management over many years, in which labour and management discuss matters seriously and settle workplace issues equally and autonomously. In this lecture, JILAF Secretary General Saito spoke about such topics as (1) the transformation of industrial relations in Japan, (2) the present state of Japanese trade unions, (3) the functions (economic, welfare, and political) and role of trade unions, (4) the rallying of the labour movement to raise the living standards of ordinary people and workers, (5) the strengthening of trust with trade union members in the workplace and efforts by labour and management, with a sense of ownership, to improve the working environment and ensure job stability, (6) fair distribution through contributions by workers to productivity improvement, and (7) the importance of social dialogue.

Lectures were also given by Executive Director Shyamraj Adhikari of the Nepalese Social Security Fund on social security issues in Nepal and NTUC General Secretary Yogendra Kumar Kunwar on the collective bargaining process following labour law revision. NTUC General Secretary Yogendra expressed his approval of Japanese-style industrial relations and labour-management practices, which are different from those in the West, and again emphasized the need to forge relations of trust between labour and management by contributing to productivity improvement and, on this basis, to build constructive industrial relations. In response, the audience gave their opinions on the present situation in Nepal (violations of the freedom of association, restrictions on the right to strike, the frequent outbreak of unfair labour practices) and asked questions about the mechanism for solving industrial disputes, the prevention of industrial disputes based on productivity improvement and constructive industrial relations, and the importance of sound industrial relations. NTUC General Secretary Yogendra gave pertinent replies.

On the second day, after a lookback on the first day by representatives of the three organizations, a “social dialogue” panel discussion was held by representatives of the government, labour, and management on the theme of “The Improvement of Industrial Relations in Nepal.” The panelists agreed on the importance of building relations of trust and solid collaboration between labour and management based on an attitude of mutual respect and proposed (1) the improvement of various issues through social dialogue; (2) effective efforts to address labour law revision; (3) cooperation among the multiple national centers toward improving the lives of workers; (4) prohibition of harassment toward women and forced labour; (5) the protection of informal-sector and outsourcing workers; (6) compliance with the minimum wage of 13,450 rupees per month and efforts to secure bonuses and basic wage hikes by labour and management in individual companies; and (7) the need for a sense of distance between politics and the labour movement. These proposals were discussed by the participants as a whole.

In the closing ceremony, JILAF President Nagumo expressed his gratitude to the participants for their enthusiastic participation and ended the two-day seminar by saying that “JILAF will continue its efforts to cooperate so that Nepal overcomes the various issues and challenges facing it and becomes an even better country for workers and ordinary people.”

Schedule

DateContents
02/06WedIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar day 1 (venue: Kathmandu)
02/07ThuIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar day 2 (venue: Kathmandu)

Photos of the Participants

Address by Councilor Yuzo Yoshioka of the Japanese Embassy in Nepal

Group photo of the participants

Lecture by JILAF on “The Role of Japanese Trade Unions and Issues”

A question from the floor

A question from the floor

Panel discussion by government-labour-management representatives