Friday, June 7, 2013

Politically motivated strikes fuel capital flight

At a time when the country is trying to attract investment to propel economic growth, frequent disturbances in operating industries will, however, help fuel capital flight from the country, according to private sector leaders.
"Politically motivated strikes will force industries to close down and fuel capital flight," said president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Suraj Vaidya, here, today.
The private sector has always been used as a bait by political parties to bargain with the government, he said, urging the agitating trade unions to come to the table for talks, if they have any problem with employers. "Any solution should be found through legal and democratic means and not by resorting to unlawful means like vandalism and threats."
The frequent attacks will discourage the private sector, forcing them to close down industries that are generating employment for thousands, added Vaidya.
The strikes by politically motivated trade unions have also been curtailing the right of economic freedom of other workers, who are working to earn a living for their family.
Economic freedom — that is also a basic human right — is a personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete in markets, and protection of person and property. But lack of law and order in the country and over politicisation of trade unions have not only curtailed the right to economic freedom but also defamed trade unions that were instituted for collective bargaining power of labourers.
The private sector condemns forceful strikes and donation terror that have been disturbing industrial relations, though we respect the right to protest and collective bargaining through lawful means, Vaidya said. "The trade unions should be made to pay compensation for the damages they cause if they resort to vandalism."
Director of Lomus Herbal Research Centre Prajjwal Jung Pandey, on the occasion, briefed about the attacks on his research centre yesterday by the CPN-Maoist affiliated All Nepal Revolutionary Federation of Trade Union, that had called for a two-day strike, curtailing the right of protection against unemployment of other workers.
However, physical attacks, intimidation, threats and forceful donation drives have become a common feature recently also due to the government's failure to enforce law and order.
"The current proposed minimum wage hike is 50 per cent more than the average inflation of the last two years," the private sector players said, adding that the Minimum Wage Fixation Committee — that has members representing employers, employees and government — had recommended the minimum wage after a series of consultations with trade unions. "Any trade union that does not agree with the recommendation has a right to protest but they have no right to resort to vandalism."
The umbrella organisation of the private sector has asked the government to take strong action against the attackers and treat them as criminals for breaking the law of the land by attacking industries and destroying property.
Series of incidents
* Attack on president of Nepal Bankers' Association Rajan Singh Bhandari on January 7
* Attack on managing director of Hotel Radisson BK Shrestha on March 15
* Attack on telecom service provider Ncell on March 19
* Attack on vice president of FNCCI Pashupati Murarka on April 23
* Attack on Lomus Herbal Research Centre on June 6
* Attack on Chaudhary Group on June 6
* Forced donation terror for students election that has been postponed

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