Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Employers seek right to economic freedom

Employers have appealed to the All Nepal Revolutionary Trade Union Federation — the labour wing of CPN-Maoist — not to resort to strikes and disturb the good industrial environment by respecting the right to economic freedom that is also a basic human right.
The CPN-Maoist affiliated trade union has announced an industrial strike tomorrow and the day after against the proposed minimum wage set by the Minimum Wage Fixation Committee.
The committee that has members representing employers, employees and the government had — after several rounds of talks — finalised a monthly salary of Rs 8,000 from Rs 6,200, and daily wage of Rs 318 from Rs 231, on May 28. But the CPN-Maoist affiliated trade union has been opposing the hike calling it insufficient. It has been asking for a minimum monthly salary of Rs 15,000.
"We will strike against the proposed wage hike," said coordinator of the federation Ramdeep Acharya. "We will close all factories and industries on Thursday and Friday," he said, adding that the federation had organised a sit-in protest today. "The federation will not take back its protest programmes until the minimum wage decision is revoked. The agreement is against the interest of workers."
However, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has appealed to the trade union to take back its protest programmes.
"The private sector is passing through a difficult time due to regular power outage that has limited the capacity of industries, high interest rates, labour strikes and politicisation of labour force due to the lengthening political transition," FNCCI said, adding that the forceful closure of industries will curtail economic freedom — that comes under basic human rights — of employers and other employees too.
FNCCI has also requested the government to create an environment to operate industries safely and smoothly. "The forceful closure will disturb the cordial relation between employers and employees," it added.
The Minimum Wage Fixation Committee has fixed the minimum salary on the basis of inflation rate published by the central bank.
"If the trade union forcefully closes the industries, employers themselves will have no option other than to close the industries," according to FNCCI.
In the past 10 years, the contribution of the manufacturing sector has seen a constant decrease, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics that has revealed that the contribution of the manufacturing sector is projected to drop to 6.17 per cent in the current fiscal year from 8.50 in 2001-02.
Likewise, the average capacity utilisation of the industrial sector in the first half of the current fiscal year 2013-14 has also dropped to 44.7 per cent, according to the central bank's recent report 'Economic Activities Study Report.'

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