CPN-Maoist general secretary Thapa opts for nationalist forces to lead govt
BANEPA: General Secretary of CPN-Maoist Ram Bahadur Thapa has said that new government of the nationalist forces should be formed by toppling the incumbent government. Addressing the First National Youth Gathering and Training Programme of Nepal Tamang Rastriya Mukti Morcha in Dhulikhel today, Thapa claimed that agitations of the nationalist forces would take a momentum in the offing. Thapa also said that country’s sovereignty was in peril since signing of the Sugauli Treaty adding that the youth should take initiatives to safeguard country’s sovereignty. Over 250 youth of Tamang are participating in the programme.
Workers shut down industries
PARASI: The agitating workers have closed down almost all industries in Nawalparasi, reasoning the minimum salary recommended by a government committee was unacceptable to them. All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Union Federation affiliated to the CPN-Maoist said Rs 8,000 as the monthly salary recommended by the government committee could not be accepted, as it was very low. District coordinator of the Federation Indra Bahadur Khatri said the Federation has put forth 25-point demand, including the monthly salary be fixed minimum at Rs 15,000.
Due to the agitation, industries in Diyapuri, Gaidakot and Mukundapur have been shut down. According to Khatri, the Federation has demanded daily wage be increased to Rs 700 from Rs 318, monthly wage fixed at Rs 15,000 minimum, and life insurance of Rs 1 million, delivery allowance to the women workers, free education and health service to the workers’ children, arrangement of residence to the workers, appointment letters, and formation of a workers’ commission within 90 days and others.
Industrialists turn to machines for relief from labour unrest
BIRATNAGAR, JUN 08 – Harassed by continual labour unrest, industrialists have been turning towards advanced technology to reduce their dependence on manual labour. For example, there are only 20 workers in the recently opened Everest Solvent Factory which makes chemical turpentine. Proprietor Abhinash Bohara said they invested around Rs 180 million in the factory. “We would be hiring more than 100 workers if we didn’t have these modern machines,” said Bohara, who is also the president of the Morang Merchant Association.
“This equipment has removed the hassle of dealing with militant labourers besides ensuring quick and quality production.” Similarly, MM Polymers of Hetauda has employed only 12 workers in its plastic factory. If the company had not installed modern robot-operated machinery, they would be required to hire more than 30 workers. “There is no environment for employing many workers these days,” said proprietor Suyash Pyakurel. “Investing in modern equipment is a better option as the owners can work in a hassle-free environment.” Likewise, industrialist Rakesh Surana also plans to go for modern machines when he expands his operations.
“It is easier to bring up an elephant than workers.” Lack of skilled manpower and the existence of politically motivated workers unions has prompted industrialists to go for modern factories that require few workers. Many factories have shut down due to conflicts between management and labour in recent years. Two years ago, multinational company Surya Nepal situated at Tankisinwari of Morang closed its garment factory as a result of a confrontation between management and workers. As a result, more than 500 workers have been made jobless. There were 450 female workers employed in the factory.
The factory complex, which is spread over six bighas of land, consists of three buildings in which modern machinery has been installed. The property worth around Rs 500 million lies disused till now. Factories are being shut down due to politically motivated strikes organised by different trade unions. In a recent incident, a trade union affiliated to the CPN-Maoist closed factories across the country on Thursday and Friday demanding annulment of the wage increment agreement signed by other big trade unions with the employers and the government. Factories in the Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor suffer losses amounting to more than Rs 400 million during a single day of banda. The more than 500 factories have to bear losses of Rs 200 million directly while the Biratnagar Customs Office is out Rs 40 million in lost revenue whenever there is a strike.
Similarly, around 500,000 workers from the organised and non-organised sectors lose their wages. Calculated on the basis of the minimum wage rate, a day without work means more than Rs 150 million lost. Due to the increasing trend of strikes and shutdowns, losses have been mounting. Factories are going through a slump due to new and different issues being raised by different groups and political parties. On top of that, the constant strikes called by workers have spread terror among factory owners. Food items are the main products produced in the Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor. Rice, lentils, mustard oil, refined oil, wheat flour, ghee, noodles, beaten rice, bhujia, biscuits and chocolates are produced in the area. In addition, construction materials are also produced in the corridor.