Next tenure's mobilisation: GEFONT's rejuvenation (2022-2026)
Two types of work should be completed within the next four-year tenure. First, address the rights and interest of the working class and our members in a way that they feel it, and second, rejuvenate GEFONT through these works.
Addressing the rights and interests of working class means giving them assurance of 3 Guarantees: return (reasonable income), sustainability (continuity of work) and security (savings for the future). For this, following campaigns have been proposed:
1. Work and fair wage: Continuity of work and sustainable democratic workplace
- Make the wage-employment dignified.
- Implement the labour audit (both workplace inspection and labour inspection): here, inspect not only regular (permanent/temporary) workers within the formal labour sector, but also the irregular such as contract, daily wage and outsourced and they are listed in the Social Security Fund.
- Focus on time bound minimum wage review.
- Monitor and prepare annual reports regarding rights-based demands.
- Focus on collective bargaining with a proposal of a new system for interest-based demands.
- Be agile of union rights at workplace.
- Mobilise local unions to increase the membership and their capacity (awareness and skills).
2. Wages for interns campaign
These days, students of various colleges are provided with internships at hotels, chain restaurants and marts charging them certain fees. Where no fee is charged, even there, they are made to work for 6-8 hours for free. This is not justice. It instead is the exploitation of young workers. The Labour Act has provisioned suitable wages for interns or trainees. Here we do not have to raise the issue of the eight-hour working day. Let it be just an incentive cost for them. If we start the ‘wages for interns’ campaign with the help of the municipality and the labour administration following the provision of the Labour Act, it will be possible for us to expand the union in new areas.
3. Towards local: Formlise the informal
Along with the Prime Minister Employment Programme, employment service centres have been established in all municipalities. There are also employees and the employment service centres have their relations with the Ministry of Social Development at province level. Prime Minister Employment Programme can be presented in numbers as below:
- 200,000 National target of minimum employment the FY 2077/78
- 752,449 Number of registered unemployed persons
- 304,211 Number of households
- 13,807,367 Total employment days
- 184,293 Number of persons employed
- 95,658 Total employed persons receiving payment
- 18,736 Total projects
- 12,034,900,000 Total allocated budget
- 8,775,125,465 Total budget of projects being operated
- 2,525,231,145 Total expenditure
- 706 Number of local levels implementing the project
- 727 Number of local level listing of unemployed
- 753 Total municipalities
Building on this progress, we have to speed up our work for labour registration. The purpose of the registration should be to expedite the campaign to bring those who are wage-employment and self-employment under the social security. In this way, we can implement the concept of 'all labour formal - all workers regular employees' as envisioned by the Labour Act 2017.
4. From low to middle income: Journey towards affluence
A slogan – Poor sweats, rich seizes (in Madhes it is called 'Kamae lagauntiwala, Khae dhotiwala' – poor earns, rich reaps!)' is relevant even today. We should launch a 'Say No to It' campaign. Our report has been saying since the Seventh Congress that the class of the working class should be uplifted to the middle class. Now the time has come to put this slogan to practice. This should be one of the strategies to prepare the basis for socialism. We have to emphasise on two types of work for this:
- Encourage members to self-employment rather than wage -employment.
- Enthuse them to take up entrepreneurship.
- Arrange seed capital and training.
5. Our future, social protection: Collabaration, contribution and participation
Currently, there are four types of contribution-based social security schemes in implementation through the Social Security Fund:
- Medical treatment, health and maternity protection scheme
- Accident and disability protection scheme
- Dependent family protection scheme
- Old age security scheme
The current status of the Social Security Fund is as follows:
- 17192 listed employers
- 346,744 listed contributors
- 2109 crore total contribution amount
- 165.99 crore total claimed payment
- 136.89 crore retirement claims
- 23.03 crore medical treatment, maternity services
- 3.74 crore dependent family claims
- 2.31 crore accident and disability claims
Now both the wage-employed and the self-employed workers should be included in the contribution based social security. It seems that about 5,000 workers are being registered in the Fund per month. At least 20 lakhs workers including those in foreign employment, and all kinds of wage-employment and self-employment can be listed as contributors to the Social Security Fund in the next four years. Therefore, the aim of our campaign should be - target the two million.
- Carry out health insurance publicity campaign. Support in treatment and interfere in premium collection. We need to be mindful that attempts are being made to make the health insurance programme fail. Link the propaganda slogan of where is hospital, where is treatment and where is wellness to it.
- Be involved in the campaign of easy availability of allowance for senior citizen
- Be involved in the promotion of social assistance. Currently, the state is providing eight different types of assistance:
- Day lunch for school children
- Single woman allowance
- Support for the persons with disability
- Dalit women allowance
- Support in chronic health problems (treatment of 10 different types of diseases)
- Free healthcare for children and senior citizens above 70 years of age
- Free insurance subsidy for senior citizens above 70 years of age
- Scholarship facility for students
6. Study, research and analysis: Trade union school and mobilisation
- Launch hybrid virtual classes from the Action Room as per the concept of School from Action Room. It was proposed to connect the classes run from the trade union school in Kathmandu with the classes in each province through virtual platforms. The participants of such classes will join simultaneously from all the seven provinces and the expert trainers will facilitate sessions from the action room at the centre.
- Continue the work of providing policy feedback to the GEFONT National Committee with policy analysis on contemporary issues by GEFONT-TUPI.
- Continue the work of research and study as part of the union campaign. Make the function of National Labour Academy more effective.
7. Unity in diversity: Harmonious relation in trade union and solidarity
- Accept proactively the process of unification and integration.
- Start cooperation with the unions that can be merged in the future.
- Re-evaluate the work of ITUC – National Affiliates Council (NAC).
- Review the modus operandi of JTUCC operation.
8. Beyond the border campaign: Organisation and achievement
- Continue the ongoing work
- Further strengthen the work of GEFONT support group
- Continue lobbying necessary for the benefit of Nepali migrant workers
9. Young generation (Y-Gen): Youth in union campaign
- Further strengthen the work of youth committee by setting goals.
- Train and mobilise them by involving in the community workers club and youth committee at workplace under the youth for social service programme.
- Review the youth programme organised during this period. Organise a wider youth labour conference to decide the future strategy by analysing the youth mentality, aspirations and condition.
10. Women and gender equaltiy (We-Gen) programme
- Enhance women's participation in the union movement carrying out an assessment of the post-restructuring scenario of the state.
- Continue campaign on violence against women (Say No to Violence campaign) in society and at workplace.
- Continue the 'Count Us In' campaign against the trend of denying women’s role in society and economy.
- Give emphasis on increasing women's leadership in the union movement.
11. Engagement in issues of public concerns
- GEFONT engages in various issues of public concern including issues of climate change and situation of world of work after Covid-19 pandemic.