General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), President Binod Shrestha has said that Nepal's major parties have forgotten the working class. “In the inclusive quota, the possibility of rich businessman winning political party election is advancing, which does not foster the principle of inclusion," said President. Citing the example of rich people being elected in the inclusive quota at the Nepali Congress Convention, Shrestha opined that there is a drastic shortfall in workers' representation.
Addressing the Bagmati State Level Women’s gathering organized by GEFONT, President said that GEFONT has always been adamant about increasing women’s representation. Upon agreeing on the women representation of 51 percent in every structure of GEFONT, he stated that increasing the number of women members in the union is necessary. He further said that GEFONT institutionalized 33 percent female representation in the organization for the first time in Nepal and that was later guaranteed in the constitution of Nepal and women currently makeup 40% of the GEFONT National Committee, indicating that GEFONT has ensured a strong representation of women rather than rhetorical engagement.
He said, “GEFONT needs to be well-represented in all the three areas of service, production and informal, for that regular training would play a crucial role”. “With the development of self-employment sector becoming a large sector in recent times and women are increasingly involved in it, it is vital to integrate them in Trade Union Movement ”.
According to GEFONT General Secretary Janak Chaudhary, the conference was organized to discuss the changes in the workplace and how such changes impacted employment relations owing to the shifting backdrop of the labor market.
The thematic discussion was held by forming two groups. The group which was facilitated by GEFONT Vice-President Bidur Karki and GEFONT Bagmati State President Ram Hari Nepal expressed that it is imperative to register the informal sector workers and involve them in Social Security Programs.
As observed by participants, exploitation of labor supplier firms has increased in some factories and establishments, workers have been unable to distinguish between labor suppliers and primary employers, and workers have been unable to receive wages commensurate with the job they performed.
Furthermore, the participants said that despite receiving equal pay for similar work, women are pushed to work longer hours causing physical suffering. Likewise, the participants further discussed the achievements and problems faced by health volunteers and individuals working in the field of self-employment, and micro-enterprises as a result of COVID-19.
According to the General Secretary Chaudhary, such meetings will be held in other provinces to notify GEFONT’s members about the overall labor law and GEFONT's ongoing activity, as well as to identify regional problems at the local level for solution. About 50 representatives of various GEFONT affiliated unions attended the meeting.