General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) Bagmati Province workshop and planning meeting was held under the chairmanship of Cde. Ramhari Nepal on February 3rd at the Tourism Board's hall at Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu.
In the workshop, GEFONT President Cde. Binod Shrestha recalled the history of Nepal's trade union movement, which started in 1946 and reached the third generation today, although it has succeeded in bringing many changes in the labor sector, including political changes, but the workers' lives are not in a condition where they can feel the change, and how to advance the movement in the labor market. Emphasizing that it should be our main issue in the future, he expressed confidence that the workshop will create a solid plan.
While being led by the third generation of Nepal's trade union movement, while protecting the achievements of the past movement, emphasizing on the need to implement the program set by the 8th Congress of GEFONT, GEFONT has 20 percent increase in membership, joining 2 million workers in contributory social security scheme, remuneration for intern, etc. He said that workers should have an active role.
Expressing his belief that the workshop will help in building a reliable organization of workers in 119 municipalities of 13 districts of Bagmati province by identifying their shortcomings and achievements in a fine manner, President Shrestha also gave instructions to implement the ideas that came out of the workshop in a planned manner.
In the workshop, GEFONT Vice President and Women's Committee President Cde. Sita Lama highlighted 10 issues to be done in the workshop. GEFONT General Secretary Cde. Laxman Sharma said that it is necessary to formulate more plans after evaluating how much of the plan prepared by the Federation has been implemented and how much remains to be done.
120 leaders from 13 districts of Bagmati province were divided into 7 groups and prepared by discussion in the planning workshop which was facilitated by GEFONT Vice President Cde. Bidur Karki, Cde. Jitendra Shrestha, Cde. Sita Lama, Secretary General Cde. Laxman Sharma, Deputy Secretary General Cde. Narnath Luitel, Secretary Cde. Mahendra Lal Shrestha.
Bagmati Provincial Office informed that the issues presented in the workshop will be prepared and implemented in the provincial committee meeting on February 4th.
Cde. Binod Shrestha, President of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), emphasized the need to proceed with the ratification of ILO Conventions, formalize informal labor, and revise labor laws promptly.
Shrestha, serving as the president of GEFONT, expressed these views during his participation as a trade union representative in the Central Labor Advisory Council meeting held at the Ministry of Labor and Employment Social Security on February 1.
The Central Labor Advisory Council urged the government to ratify ILO Conventions 81 and 87, which designate the decade from 2081 to 2090 as the period for promoting domestic employment. Additionally, the council resolved to organize a labor and employment conference within the current financial year.
The Asia Pacific regional meeting of Streetnet International, an international umbrella organization of self-employed street vendors from around the world, where the Nepal Street Vendors Trade Union (NEST) is affiliated, commenced on 30th January at Hotel Thamel Park in Kathmandu.
At the onset of the meeting, GEFONT President Cde. Binod Shrestha extended a warm welcome to all participants from various countries to Nepal. Trade union representatives from Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Thailand, Belgium, Portugal, Cambodia, Ukraine, and other countries attended the meeting. Cde. Shrestha emphasized that the challenges faced by street vendors are identical across different countries. He advocated for the development of a common framework to address these issues.
Cde. Shrestha underscored that the primary concern is the dignity of work, regardless of its scale. He highlighted GEFONT's ongoing efforts towards promoting dignified work.
He mentioned that GEFONT and Nepal Street Vendors Trade Union (NEST) played a significant role in integrating street vendors into the contributory social security scheme. Additionally, he noted GEFONT's campaign aimed at enrolling 2 million workers into the contributory social security scheme.
Representatives from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Solidarity Center shared their perspectives during the meeting, which is scheduled to continue until 2nd February.
The training conducted by the GEFONT to the members of affiliated unions Independent Transport workers Union Nepal (ITWAN), Nepal Auto Mechanics Trade Union (NATU), and Nepal Security Service Trade Union(NSSTU) had concluded at GEFONT continue Trade Union school.
The training of the 30th batch was inaugurated by GEFONT President Binod Shrestha on 14th September and concluded by distributing certificates of participation to the participants on September 16. Distributing the certificate of participation, GEFONT President Binod Shrestha said that the training program conducted by GEFONT for 3 trade unions with different natures of work, said that it will prove to be a milestone for the expansion and development of the organization in their respective fields.
In the training program, GEFONT Vice President Bidur Karki trained regarding the international trade union movement and socialism, GEFONT Vice President Janak Chaudhary trained regarding Labour law and GEFONT General Secretary Laxman Sharma trained regarding the policies and program passed by the GEFONT 8th National Congress. Likewise, Secretary of Publicity and Publication department Mahendra Lal Shrestha trained regarding information archiving.
The Nepal Independent Hotel Casino and Restaurant Workers Union (NIHWU) - Hotel Pokhara Grand, has elected a 15-member committee under the chairmanship of Cde. Yama Prasad Sapkota in a special conference held on February 6.
Cde. Laxman Tiwari, Central President of NIHWU, stated that the union, active in the tourism sector, is the only official trade union representing the hotel. He emphasized that the union operates collectively and institutionally, asserting that it does not operate based on the whims of any individual.
Cde. Manmohan Gayak, the president of Pokhara Grand and also the central vice president of the union, was disciplined by expelling from his position due to his involvement in anti-union activities.
Cde. Rudra Bahadur Khatri, GEFONT Gandaki Provincial President, affirmed that the union's vitality and continuity would not be compromised by the migration of a few individuals. He stressed the importance of unity, organization, and perseverance in striving for the rights of workers.
Cde. Badri Kumar Bhandari, Central Secretary of NIHWU, highlighted that for the past 18 years, NIHWU, as the official trade union, has been actively addressing the workers' concerns.
During the opening ceremony of the special conference, speeches were delivered by GEFONT National Committee member Cde. Pampha Pahari, GEFONT Province Committee member Cde. Badrinath Subedi, NIHWU central member Cde. Keshav Prasad Sapkota, Union Hotel Pokhara Grand Vice President Cde. Nita Mainali, Secretary Cde. Ramchandra Acharya, and others, addressing various issues about workers in the tourism sector.
Kantipur United Struggle Committee organized a program on 28th June 2080 at Kantipur Publications. The joint struggle committee of the workers and employees belonging to four unions, including Impression Nepal, protested with 7 different demands before the manager of Kantipur Publications.
In the event, Impression Nepal's President Balgopal Thapa underscored that all employees and workers here should have their rights, privileges, and benefits as per the Journalist Law. He stressed that if these rights aren't upheld as mandated by law, we possess the capability to hold management accountable and enforce them. Balgopal Thapa affirmed Impression Nepal's commitment to supporting such actions for ensuring rightful rights and benefits for employees.
The Kantipur Struggle Committee has included the following 7 demands - the full enactment of the Journalist Law and the complete dissemination of the Honorable Supreme Court's verdict, ensuring provisions for severance pay as per the Journalist Law upon resignation, compensation arrangement in case of employee layoffs as per the Journalist Law and regulations, provision for home leave and sabbatical leave, establishment of a welfare fund, and inclusion in the social security fund right from the initiation of service, among others.
The general federation of Nepalese Trade Union (GEFONT) organised a trainers training on occupational health and safety at hotel heaven grand on July 9, for the workers working in the tea and cardamom sector of Jhapa, Ilam, Pachthar, Taplejung and Dhankuta Districts of Koshi province.
During the training 34 trainer leaders participated held with the aim of making the workplace safe and dignified by expanding the organization in the tea and cardamom sector.
The coordinator of the tea garden area union Santa Rai highlighted the rationale of the program, while the training of trainers was facilitated by Bidur Karki Vice president and head of the Education Department.
GEFONT Koshi province President Kishor Dhamala disclosing about the future work plan of GEFONT to expand the organization in that area and said that within the month of June July, a gathering of leading workers will be organized separately in Jhapa, Ilam and Dhankuta for the training programs on occupational health and safety.
On July 24, the tea garden workers demanded wage increment through the active trade unions in the tea sector including Nepal Agriculture and Tea Workers Union, Nepal Tea Garden Workers Union, and All Nepal Tea Laborers Union have submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of Nepal through the Jhapa District Administration Office.
The worker's rally reached the Jhapa District Administration Office along with the statement including raising minimum wages, implementing the employment agreement, Implemented the contribution-based social security.
Despite informing the employers about their demands on June 20 and not receiving any response, the three trade unions have been protesting continuously by raising black flags at their workplaces since July 17.