Joint report of the CBS, ILO and UNICEF

Report on Employment Relationship Survey in The Brick Industry in Nepal

The survey report is a joint initiative of the ILO, UNICEF and the Central Bureau of Statistics in Nepal. It contains key characteristics of employment relationship for producing bricks and covers the prevalence of forced labour, bonded labour and child labour as well as key contributing factors for them.

Brick industry provides partial employment to more than 200 thousand workers in Nepal. It is largely a manual and seasonal work, taking place during November to May each year although mechanized production has also been started which produces bricks throughout the year. The employment relationship has special features like - informality, seasonal and migrant worker's involvement; many of them internal migrants with family members. Advance payment to workers has been a key strategy for the industry to keep the workers continuing the activity for the next year's season which is operated by the labour contractors in most cases. These features have given grounds for the use of forced, bonded and child labour for brick production in Nepal. The survey revealed 1,035 (0.5%) bonded labours; 6229 (3.2%) forced labours; and 17,032 (8.74%) child labours amongst all 194,949 workers aged 5 and more years. Migrant (internal and international) workers constitute the significant majority of the workforce; 16% coming from India and 32% internal Nepali migrants. The survey has suggested several policy options for ending forced, bonded and child labour that can contribute to fill the gap of decent work deficit in the sector. Regulating labour contractors who play key roles in paying and controlling workers can contribute to a decent advance system thereby reducing bonded labours. Level of education and awareness of workers on their rights seems significantly low as the reach out of unions to this sector is still challenging. The study also suggests interventions at source districts which supply significant number of workers to the industry.