Land-Dispute Villagers Protest Outside Cabinet Meeting
Three protesters were arbitrarily thrown onto municipal security trucks and driven away from a demonstration on Friday outside the Council of Ministers building, where Prime Minister Hun Sen had called a meeting to discuss how the government will manage protests in the city. Some 70 protesters from communities locked in long-running land disputes, including Boeng Kak and Borei Keila in Phnom Penh and Lor Peang village in Kompong Chhnang province, were met in the morning by riot police wielding shields and batons, who blocked them from delivering their petitions to the government leaders.
Big three to talk to Baidya-led Maoists
Seek their views on contentious issues KATHMANDU, Aug 23: Leaders from the major political parties have agreed to hold top-level talks with the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist on Sunday as the agitating party has refused to talk to the Constituent Assembly´s dialogue committee. The Baidya-led Maoist party, which boycotted the Constituent Assembly (CA) election late last year, has also refused to participate in talks to be coordinated by any CA body.
According to Nepali Congress Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel, the top leadership of the three major parties will hold talks with Baidya´s party on Sunday to seek its views on various contentious issues of the new constitution. UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha said the three parties will hold a meeting Sunday morning to take some important decisions in connection with talks with the Baidya-led party.
“We have decided to talk to Baidya´s party without any further delay because they have rejected talks with the CA´s dialogue committee also,” Shrestha told Republica. The CA´s Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee, which is chaired by UCPN (Maoist) leader Baburam Bhattarai, held talks with several political and other groups not represented in the CA, with a view to incorporating their inputs in the constitution-making process. But it couldn´t hold a dialogue with the Baidya-led party as the latter has refused to talk to the CA. Shrestha said the leaders decided to talk to the agitating Maoist party before the major parties reach any conclusion in connection with settling the major thorny issues in constitution making. “We thought that it would be better to make our talks decisive only after learning about the main concerns of some of the key political parties that aren´t represented in the CA,” said Shrestha.
Pvt sector fears labour militancy might strike back
KATHMANDU, AUG 23 – With the All Nepal Revolutionary Federation of Trade Union (ANRFTU), affiliated to the CPN-Maoist, disrupting various enterprises, including Kantipur Publications, the private sector fears militant unionism might rear its ugly head again. There has been a marked improvement in industrial relations over the last two years and industrial unrest has declined significantly. However, ANRFTU’s latest tirade against business enterprises has threatened industrial harmony.
The union has obstructed distribution of The Kathmandu Post and Kantipur dailies for the last two days. The Baidya Maoist-affiliated trade union has mainly targeted nine other enterprises, including CG Telecommunications, Nabil Bank, Hyatt Hotel, Pashupati Foods, Explore Himalayan Trekking Travels, Himalayan Expedition Ink, Peak Promotion Private Limited, Hari Shiddi Bricks and Tile Factory, and Sipradi Trading. Their demands include salary hike and reinstatement of their cadres removed from the job. The union has been protesting at Nabil Bank, demanding reinstatement of laid-off workers the bank had outsourced from a third company.
According to a senior Nabil official, they had outsourced the workers for a certain period. “As we announced that we did not need their services any more, the union members have been staging a sit-in before our office for the last 8-9 days, demanding we should hire them,” said the official. “How can we fulfil their demands as they are not our employees?” Private sector leaders say spoiling industrial relations for expanding political space is deplorable. Pradeep Jung Pandey, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said since the CPN-Maoist is making efforts to show their political presence, they are targeting business enterprises.
Former FNCCI President Suraj Vaidya termed the CPN-M act “unfortunate”. “Instead of joining the Parliament, the CPN-M is doing politics in the business sector to fulfil its political objective. “The government should take strong action against those disrupting industrial relations.” Business leaders say the latest attack by the trade union on various enterprises could deteriorate the business climate at a time when the private sector is looking positive on increasing investment. “Let us (private sector) work and expand our business when there is a positive buzz for investment,” said Vaidya. Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Senior Vice-president Hari Bhakta Sharma said the action of the CPN-M trade union has created fear that the trend of labour unions competing for influence with unreasonable demands might come back. “The CNI is of the view that the political parties should be responsible to create congenial environment for the people to do their work,” he said.
20 injured as police, workers clash in Narayanganj
A clash between workers of a Narayanganj factory and police have left 20 injured in Bandar Upazila. The clash erupted when workers of Partex Particle Board factory in Madanpur put up a road blockade to demand hike in pay on Saturday. Traffic on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway was disrupted for almost one hour. The Partex factory workers have been agitating for several days, said Bandar Police OC Akhter Morshed. Police removed their blockade to ease traffic on the highway, he said.
Hundreds of the factory’s workers did not join work and began demonstrating at 8am, witnesses say. They moved to the highway and set logs on fire to stop traffic. Additional policemen were deployed at 8:30 am and they baton-charged workers when they refused to move away from the road. The workers fought back by pelting stones. 20 were injured in the pitched battle that lasted for half an hour. More policemen arrived at 9am to clear the highway.