CPN-M trade union resorts to vandalism
KATHMANDU: Cadres of All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Union Federation, the labour wing of the CPN-Maoist, today vandalised an office of Chaudhary Group and a herbal research centre of Lomus Group, saying they ‘disobeyed their two-day strike’. “Workers of a trade union entered our research centre in Gangabu and vandalised the equipment there,” said Pradeep Jung Pandey, Chairman of Lomus Group. “They would not even listen to us. Six to seven researchers were working at that time.” The agitating workers also vandalised the Senepa-based office of Chaudhary Group, one of the country’s leading business houses.
“A group pelted stones at our office,” said a top official, requesting not to be named. “Only minor damage was caused though,” he said, adding that the extent of vandalism is not as important as the trend of attacking industries is. The CPN-Maoist-affiliated trade union announced two-day industrial strike beginning today to protest the proposed minimum wage fixed by the Minimum Wage Fixation Committee. The committee comprising representatives from employers, employees and the government had, after several rounds of talks, finalised monthly salary of Rs 8,000 from earlier Rs 6,200, and daily wage of Rs 318 from Rs 231, on May 28. But the CPN-Maoist-affiliated trade union has been opposing the revised wages, saying the hike was insufficient.
It has been asking for a minimum monthly salary of Rs 15,000. “Our protest is against the minimum wage hike,” said Ramdeep Acharya, coordinator of ANRTUF. “Those who disobey our strike are of feudal mindset and they will be responsible for whatever damage caused to their industries,” Acharya said, adding that his union has already warned the industries not to operate for two days. According to Acharya, their strike will continue until the government revoked the proposed minimum wage.
Meanwhile, Butwal Industrial District has urged the trade union to call off the strike and resolve the dispute through talks. “Trade unions should seek remedy by pressuring the authorities, not by closing the industries and attacking them,” it said. There has been too much politicisation of trade unions in recent years, and unions have been using their strength as a tool to drive a bargain with the government, as a result of which economic freedom of employers and employees has been curtailed.
Nepal for the past one decade has witnessed extremely slow manufacturing output, and experts say they see the writing on the wall if such politicisation of trade unions is not stopped at the earliest. According to Central Bureau of Statistics, the contribution of the manufacturing sector is projected to drop to 6.17 per cent in the current fiscal year from 8.50 in 2001-02 in the wake of regular power outage, frequent labour strikes, and higher cost of operation.
Industries ground to a halt
Hetauda/Pokhara: Industries and factories across the country bore the brunt of the two-day strike called by CPN-Maoist-aligned All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Union Federation. The federation has enforced the strike, putting forward 25-point demand, including minimum monthly salary of Rs 15,000, permanent status to the workers who have worked for 90 days and security insurance worth Rs 1 million.
A total of 110 industries in Makawanpur alone, including 70 in Hetauda Industrial Estate, remained shut today. Prakash Paudel, Nanda Lal Chaudhary, Krishna Silwal, Bishnu Humagain, Bimal BK and Karna Karki were detained by police while they were enforcing the strike. About a hundred industries in Pokhara Industrial Estate, Lekhnath Municipality and adjoining areas remained shut.
CPN-M to halt protest throughout monsoon
KATHMANDU, JUN 07 – Considering the advent of monsoon season and its impact on the lives of agricultural population, the CPN-Maoist has planned to halt its ongoing protest until the end of the season. The CPN-Maoist , which has been leading an alliance of 33 fringe parties against the ‘four-party political syndicate’ and Khil Raj Regmi-led Interim Election Government, said it will engage in party’s internal preparations and future prospect of the protest while a majority of the people will be busy farming. However, CPN-Maoist leaders said nothing will stop them from taking to the streets if the government tries to impose its unilateral decision.
“Since a majority of the country’s population will be busy in farming, our party has decided to put the protest on hold throughout the rainy season. But the party is prepared to take the streets anytime if need be,” said CPN-Maoist spokesperson Pampha Bhusal. Admitting that a low turnout has weakened the overall strength of agitating force, the CPN-Maoist has started talks with other dissident parties, including Ashok Rai-led Federal Socialist Party-Nepal (FSPN) and Federal Democratic Front (FDF) led by Upendra Yadav to intensify their protest. “The differences in our agenda and demands had hindered the unity so far.
During the talks, everyone has accepted the need to move together putting aside the differences,” said Bhusal. While the CPN-Maoist firmly believes that the incumbent government should be replaced with a political one, the FSPN and the FDF have taken softer stance. Yadav only wants Regmi to resign from the post of Chief Justice. Instead of directly calling on the incumbent government to quit, the FSPN has demanded that the 11-point deal and 25-point pact for removing constitutional difficulties reached among the four parties be scrapped to end the legitimacy of the CJ-led government. Bhusal said her party is holding talks both within the 33-party alliance and beyond to determine a roadmap of a possible cooperation and protest. Both Rai and Yadav confirmed to the Post that they are holding discussion with their partner to determine the possible collaboration for a ‘decisive struggle’. Rai said that the party’s meeting on Tuesday had decided to hold talks within a few days. Yadav has also gave a seven-day ultimatum to the government to address the demands of the FDF.
Industries partially crippled as ANFRTU goes on strike
Industrial operations across the country were partially paralysed, while a few business establishments were vandalised on Thursday, due to a two-day strike called by the All Nepal Federation of Revolutionary Trade Unions ( ANFRTU ). Industries inside Hetaunda Industrial Estate remained totally closed, while around 25 industries inside the Bara-Parsa Industrial Corridor were forcefully closed. Some of the industries based in Pokhara also suffered from the strike.
However, Biratnagar saw minimal impact of the strike. ANFRTU cadres vandalized Lomas Herbal Research Centre of Lomas Group in Gongabu, Kathmandu. Lomas Group Executive Director Pradeep Jung Pandey said a group of 10 individuals barged into the office and vandalised for “defying their strike” and warned the officials not to open the office during the strike. ANFRTU cadres also vandalised the office of GCC Approved Medical Centers Association (GAMCA) Nepal in Kupandole, Lalitpur.
The activists held a demonstration at the main entrance of Balaju Industrial Corridor. Industrial operations at Bhaktapur Industrial Corridor were also partially disturbed. Expressing dissatisfaction over its exclusion in the new minimum wage revision process, the trade union affiliated to Mohan Baidhya-led CPN-Maoists has called a nationwide industrial shut-down until Friday. The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) strongly condemned the vandalism of industries. “We strongly condemn the vandalism by CPN-Maoist trade union,” said FNCCI President Suraj Vaidya.
“This type of protest not only disturbs the employer-employee relationship, but also violates industrial peace and security.” The police arrested 16 ANRTUF activists — eight each from Kathmandu and Hetaunda — for violating industrial peace. ANFRTU Coordinator Ram Deep Acharya said the police have released six of the eight cadres arrested from Kathmandu. Industrialist Manish Kumar Agrawal said industrialists suffered without any reason. “We showed maximum flexibility while revising the minimum wage, but we are now being troubled,” said Agrawal. “Who will bear the loss the industrialists faced?”
Former Kamlaris vandalise buses in Kailali
KAILALI, JUN 06 -Former Kamlaris (indentured girl-child labourers) vandalised two buses at Pathraiya in Kailali district on Thursday. They vandalised the bus (Na 4 Kha 4043) heading for Dhangadi from Tikapur and another bus (Na 4 Kha 4690) heading for Tikapur from the Capital at Pathraiya along the Lamki-Tikapur road stretch this morning. Former Kamlaris have called indefinite banda in 22 districts of the region since three days protesting the police interference in their peaceful demonstration and demanding the government investigate the killings and ongoing sexual exploitation of Kamlaris .
Normal life in the districts has been hit hard as market areas, transportation, industries, have come to a grinding halt due to the strike. The United Committee for the Elimination of Kamlari Practice (UCEKP) has claimed that about 642 Kamlaris were suffering some kind of harassment in districts including Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur. Former Kamlaris have been staging sit-in programmes since Wednesday, demanding that the government investigate the deaths of six teenage girls, disappearance of 27 and pregnancy of 11 others while working as Kamlaris in households.
Kamlari strike hits Tarai, banda withdrawn in Kailali
KAILALI, JUN 07 -Normali life has been crippled in Dang district on Friday due to the indefinite Tarai banda called by the Freed Kamlari Struggle Committee . The struggle committee has called general strike in 22 districts of Tarai, demanding investigations into cases of murder and disappearance of Kamlaris in different parts of the country, identity cards be issued to them, treatment be provided to those who were injured in course of picketing Singh Durbar on June 2 and action against the perpetrators. Transport services, shops, factories and schools in districts including Dang, Banke, Bardiya, and Kanchanpur were largely hit as demonstrators took to the streets. The committee has warned to continue the banda until and unless their demands are addressed.
FNCCI says ‘no work‚ no pay’ during strike
KATHMANDU: Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) on Friday condemned the latest attacks on entrepreneurs and businesses. Organising a press conference in the Capital today, the FNCCI said Thursday’s attack on Lomus Herbal Research Centre in Gongabu and Chaudhary Group’s office in Sanepa are a part of the series of attack on the private sector. Saying anarchy is rising day by day, the FNCCI expressed concern over the trade unions’ demands regarding the minimum wage determination.
According to the FNCCI, minimum wage (determination) is the matter of government’s right, and the FNCCI represented in the advisory committee set up by the government. It further clarified that the FNCCI did not choose other members in the committee, and the FNCCI representatives were among the committee members who recommended the minium wage. With a claim that it is the highest in South Asia, the FNCCI argued that the recommended minimum wage is 50 per cent more than the inflation in past two years.
The FNCCI urged the unions to stop the industrial strike in private sector, saying the government is responsible for the determinaiton of minimum wage of workers and not the FNCCI. The umbrella organisation of Nepali businessmen and industrialists further made it clear that the workers will not be paid for the period of strike as per the “no work, no pay” principle.