GEFONT Celebrated May Day 2020
GEFONT celebrated May Day 2020 through virtual media. The slogan of this May Day was: Let's Stand to Fight the Corona Pandemic Together! Ensure Jobs, Earning and Social Protection for all Workers! As decided by GEFONT national committee's virtual meeting on 27 April, on behalf of GEFONT, President Mr. Binod Shrestha delivered our stand point via national broadcasting agency, Nepal Television. The program also aired by more than 50 FM station throughout the country. The program views by thousands of workers via facebook live as well.
In the program, we have share the documentary of history of May Day celebration in Nepal and which was followed by international song.
Mr. Shrestha rose following point during his speech:
- Government was suggested to provide relief package to needy and informal economy workers as well as the unemployed population who are struggling due to the ongoing lockdown. Local authorities are to be made responsible for the management of such relief package.
- Government should ensure that workers will not be removed from their jobs and entitlement of their wages should be granted. The amount to be deposited to the social security fund should be provided by the government for couple of months.
- The workers involved in defying the pandemic, like frontline health workers, should be given insurance coverage of at least NRS 25 hundred thousand. Workers should be protected based on the nature of their job with free of cost personnel Protective Equipment.
- There are thousands of workers unable to get relief due to lack of proper labour recording system at local level. Therefore, GEFONT asks the government to make sure that all local government ensure recording of all workers including informal economy workers. So that those workers will soon have access to the relief.
- GEFONT recalls its history when Nepali workers badly suffered from the mega earthquake and economic blockade five years ago. We were able to face such challenge and we should be hopeful, and strive towards a better future after the COVID-19 pandemic is dealt with. We hope this time of crisis can also be taken as an opportunity for the development of new areas and generation of decent employment.
- GEFONT urged government to lunch a program in order to address the currently challenges of unemployment. It is necessary to ensure the job security of workers of formal economy and to generate employment opportunity within the country. We foresee that migrant workers will return to the country and government should ensure employment to them as well. Therefore, to uplift the unemployed population, the Prime Minister Employment Program should invest to create skilled work force and provide employment according to their skill.
- GEFONT also urged to invest in agriculture and infrastructure development where mass employment opportunity may be created. Similarly, national policies and budget that is to be announced within a month should be focused on utilising local resources, promoting micro and small business- where comparatively more employment opportunities created.
- GEFONT asked the government to bring all workers within the social security converge including informal and self-employed people. It should ensure that the enterprise that is not listed in social security system should not be renewed or benefited by the government support program and disqualified from any kind of bidding. In addition to that, government should extend payment of 31 percent of basic salary needed to pay to the Social security Fund by employer and employee and employer behalf till end of July.
- The current crisis has proven the necessity for changes within the healthcare system. For better management in the future, all healthcare institutions including private should be mandatorily included under the social security system. All citizens should be protected by the health insurance system and there should be enhancement in the infrastructure and human resource of government health institution.
- GEFONT also urged to formalize informal economy sector and implement the provision of Labour Act and Social Security Act. The Labour Audit should be made mandatory and to handle the grievance, Labour commission should be established. Similarly, number of Labour inspector should increase to strengthen the labour administration system.
- GEFONT also urged the initiation to bring migrant workers willing to come back to the country as soon as possible and as to mobilize our diplomatic mission to ensure that, migrant workers should be protected as equal as to the citizen of the country of destination.
Before May Day, Based on the decision of GEFONT National Committee, held on 12 March at Butwal, submitted its suggestion to the Deputy Prime Minister and Chief of Central Corona Management Committee on 20 March. The Government of Nepal responded to the demand of GEFONT and issued following relief package to workers affected by Corona virus pandemic on 29 March 2020:
- Government shall pay 31 percent of one month basic salary needed to pay to the Social security Fund by employer and employee and employer shall pay remaining amount only to the employees.
- Employer should not cut salary of employee during the pandemic ensued lockdown.
- Local government should manage and provide food during lockdown to all daily waged and informal economy workers.
- Unemployed person, migrant returnee and those who cannot fly to their country of destination due to pandemic may join Prime minister employment program and get subsistence allowance
- Private school fees for this month may not be paid by workers.
- 2.5 Million NRS insurance to the medical person, ambulance driver, garbage cleaners and other employee
- Subsidies electricity supply during pandemic
- PPEs shall be provided free of cost to the employee concerned
- The treatment for people infected by COVID-19 shall be done free of cost
Thereafter, government announced to provide NRS 1500 onetime allowance to provide community women health volunteers due to their involvement to create awareness of corona virus pandemic. Similarly, Prime Minister Mr. KP oli and Foreign Minister Mr. Pradip Gyawali hold series of meeting with their counterpart to protect the Nepalese workers in country of destination.
On, 27th April, government announce that employer ensure the public holiday with pay till the lockdown period and no workers consider as they are absent from the job. GEFONT president thanks to the government for its initiative, support and urge to fulfil all of its demand to revive form pandemic. However, the cabinet decided that employer may pay half of salary right now and remaining balance should be provided in instalment basis.
As a joint action, JTUCC also hold meeting and handed over NRS one million to the Prime Minister Relief Fund on 30 April 2020.
Till May 1, 2020, there was more that 60 thousand test including 12577 PCR methods, where 59 total corona positive cases found with no death. 16 already cured, 43 are in hospital, 94 are in isolation, and 24907 under government quarantine. The first corona case noticed in Nepal was 30th January and government initiated some kind of restriction form 27th of February. The lockdown was imposed form 23 March and it will remain continue till 07 May.
All international flights and boarders are closed till 13 May. There is more than 500 Nepali migrant workers are suffered in different countries and some 30 died already. Most of the death noticed in UK and USA. Nepali migrant workers are found corona positive cases in UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Malaysia. GEFONT migrant committee closely monitor the situation of workers outside the country.