Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maoist, UML unions bid to shut Gokarna resort

Two trade unions of Gokarna Forest Resort — one affiliated to UCPN (Maoist) and the other owing allegiance to CPN (UML) — today created obstacles in the operation of the resort and plan to shut it down if their demands were not met.
"The unions did not let us operate the generator during load shedding hours," said Suman Sachdev, director of the resort. He also blamed the central trade unions for encouraging the local unions to create disturbances in the resort, as according to him it could gain them "political clout". "Otherwise, why would they create trouble," asked the angry director of the Singapore-based company that has invested over Rs 1,000 million in Nepal and is providing 230 permanent and 150 temporary jobs.
The unions have been demanding 40 per cent raise in the basic salary and 100 per cent raise in dearness allowance, which is against the agreement reached between the Hotel Association of Nepal and six central trade unions affiliated to the political parties, including UCPN-M and UML. They had agreed not to strike for the raise.
"The agreement validated by the Supreme Court has to be respected," Sachdev said, adding that the local unions — at the behest of central unions — put illegal banner at the gate of the resort. "After repeated requests, they did not honour the agreement reached between the HAN and the six central trade unions, we wanted the labour department to intervene and sort out the matter," he added. "But the labour department and the ministry did nothing to help operate the resort smoothly," Sachdev said.
The resort management and unions held discussions today in the presence of Director General of the Labour Department. "Following today’s discussions, the DG said he was helpless as the unions were too aggressive," he said, adding that if by tomorrow noon, the matter was not sorted out the management would move the guests to another place.
Ramesh Pant, president of All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Union — the UCPN-M affiliated trade union that looks after hotels and restaurants — said they were ready to sit for another round of talks tomorrow.
"There will be a tri-partite meeting tomorrow," he said, adding that the agreement between the HAN and trade unions has expired. However, HAN executive director Madhav Ohm Shrestha said the association stood by the agreement between HAN and trade unions.

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