Consultation Meeting on the Role of Trade Unions for Effective Implementation of Local Development Programmes to achieve Decent Work in Nepal

A consultation meeting on the Role of Trade Unions for Effective Implementation of Local Development Programmes to achieve Decent Work in Nepal was organized in Kathmandu on 13 October 2017.

Press release | Kathmandu, Nepal | 13 October 2017
The Joint Trade Union Coordination Centre (JTUCC) organized a half-day consultation meeting on the Role of Trade Unions for Effective Implementation of Local Development Programmes to achieve Decent Work in Nepal, with support from South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC), Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The programme  was organized in order to explore how trade unions can engage in the local governance process to reach those most in need, to ensure that no one is left behind.

The programme was organized under the overarching concept of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to examine how it correlates with the country’s national policies. The programme sought to analyse the avenues through which trade unions could engage in such a framework, especially for local development. The event was well attended by representatives from the government, employers and workers and the Chief Guest for the event was Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment Farmullaha Mansur.

The event began with opening remarks from Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment Farmullaha Mansur; Ganesh Prasad Regmi, President of the JTUCC; Khil Nath Dahal, President of the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC); Bishnu Rimal, President of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT); Annette Schlicht, Resident Representative of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Nepal; Bharat Raj Acharaya, Vice-President of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI); Laxman Basnet, General Secretary of SARTUC and Richard Howard, Director of the ILO Country Office in Nepal.

In their opening remarks, the dignitaries highlighted that issues of economic development and job creation merit attention as we transition into a new phase in our governance. They were unanimous on their emphasis for an increased presence of the trade union at all levels- local, provincial and national. The speakers acknowledged that the formation of the Labour Law and the Social Security Act has been a major feat and that the impetus for change has been set.

Dr.Yubaraj Khatiwada, Nepal Champion for SDGs, the former Vice-Chair of the National Planning Commission as well as the former Governor of Central Bank, presented the SDGs prioritization in Nepal. He specified what the seventeen global goals were and how they are in tandem with the national development plan of Nepal. His presentation highlighted the need to work collaboratively with the government, employers and workers to achieve the common global goals. In order to create an environment for decent work, he highlighted that, “Trade Unions need to work for policy advocacy to ensure workers rights and interests through social dialogue, seek to promote empowerment of the workers, work with employers, create an environment for safe migration and social security as well as seek to reintegrate returnee migrants.”

Following Dr. Khatiwada’s presentation, Bimal Pokhrel, the Executive Director of the Federal of Rural Municipalities spoke on the roles and responsibilities of different levels of the federal structure in the formulation of laws/policies and service delivery. His presentation highlighted the local institutions that were in place to address the needs of the people at the local level. He clarified, through his presentation, how accountability would be divided between the local, provincial and national governments and also highlighted the need to ensure that the citizens were aware of this division. He raised pertinent points about the need to equip workers with technological skills to ensure that they are better prepared for the future of work, where machines will play an increasingly important role in the world of work.

Laxman Basnet presented the final paper for the event on the roles of workers organizations to build decent work and inclusive society. Since all of the SDGs are directly or indirectly related to the daily work of local government, he argued that the local government should work towards mobilizing the local stakeholders and create new partnerships, based on a common understanding of shared interest. Furthermore, he recommended that three committees on social economic and environment be established, which include the SDGs as well as national priorities to ensure that all relevant and concerned stakeholders are present. He therefore stressed the need to make laws based on the requirements on the grounds.

The presentations began with a global picture bound by the concept of the SDGs, which was then  followed by an examination the institutions present at the local level that could be used to achieve the common goals, and finally ended with insights on brining workers organizations to the community level to ensure they are inclusive. Therefore the event was a call to localize the SDGs to improve and strengthen the partnership between the social partners including the  workers, the employers and the governments at all levels.

For further information, please contact:
Richard Howard
ILO CO Kathmandu