Kathmandu, GEFONT has Celebrated its 30th Anniversary by organizing Grand program “GEFONT Campaign on Decent work” in Kathmandu on 20 July 2019. The program was started with Cake cutting ceremony by Chief Guest UML Secretary General Cde. Bishnu Paudel.
Speaking as a chief guest, UML Secretary General Cde. Bishnu Poudel said "GEFONT has a special identity in World Trade Union movement. He also expressed his belief that after the unification of GEFONT & ANTUF movement will take a new height. He said that relationship between the trade union and party is like fish and the water it’s an complimentary relationship .Party is relying on the GEFONT to formulate policies and program for labor market .
General Secretary Poudel said that in the initial days during the founding of GEFONT there was agitation against the government policy but now the situation had changed. He further said that today Trade union had reached in policy making, & had an enough excess rather than demanding for rights. Labour policies are being formulated on the basis of Trade unions suggestions.
He said the issues of PM's employment program, contribution based social security program, increment of minimum wage, improvement in the labor market, and increased employment and dignity of the workers are the latest efforts.General Secretary Poudel said the government has done a lot of new work to create decent employment in the internal labor market. He further highlighted that prime minister Employment program, Contribution based social security program, and increment of minimum wage are the latest government efforts toward reform & improvement of the labour market.
He said that the party and the government are not satisfied with these achievements only.Party and the government are working to ensure further more progress. He also urged for institutional suggestions for Government and party to work more intensively in the workers sector.
Targeting toward the illusion created about social security programs and Prime Minister's Employment Program Secretary General said that implementing any new program would not be easy in the beginning. He also clarified that the government would move ahead with resolving the problems. He further urged the unification process of two trade unions to be concluded rightfully as soon as possible. As trade unions cannot be united like other sister organizations, he expressed his happiness that the trade unions have decided the method of unification from bottom to top.
He also expressed the hope that the Union which will be formed by adopting the authentic method will set a separate identity in the World Trade Union Movement. General Secretary Poudel said that the trade union movement should be unified; no one had the privilege go beyond the institutional process & express separate ideas of a parallel nature. He also urged everybody not to engage in such activities.
He said that as the party and faction could not move forward together. Likewise, the organization and the faction also could not move forward together. That makes organization weak so that we all have to be aware. Now, an effort is being made to split up so we have to understand it timely.
Speaking as the special guest in the program, Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security minister Gokarna Bista said that the country will not change unless the workers are able to have decent life. The current government is working with the aim of changing the lives of the working class and trying to create the job for basic level people within country with proper wages.
Minister Bista further said that there should be end of the practice that those who do not work will be billionaire overnight but the lives of the workers remains same. He said “ as the result of the long struggle of workers now we have new labour act and contribution based social security act in country.
He said that the present government is sincere to implement the contribution based Social Security Act; no one has privilege to avoid the law. He also warned to those who step against the law, government will take action accordingly.
The current government is determined to ensure proper wage of workers, he also recall that this year is the historical year because of 39 percent increment of minimum wages, but still some of the industries are not implementing yet, he also aware the Employers to obey the laws set by the state in time. He further added that even the current minimum wage of Rs 13450 is not enough for workers to survive properly & the government is serious on it. Minister Bista said to avoid cheating on wages to the workers, government has arranged for salary payment by banking system. He insured that this will be fully implemented and if someone avoid it action would be taken accordingly.
Special guest Minister Bista said that the government is preparing for a new policy on OSH soon so he also urges for necessary suggestions. Speaking on the labor audit, Minister Bista acknowledged that last year it could not be carried out effectively; he informed that this year at least in three thousand (3000) industries labor audits will be conducted.
He said that Because of the Prime Minister's Employment Program jobs are creating in Nepal. Seeing that some made it issue for political criticism, Minister Bista urged to be aware on such created propaganda by those who have a different political ideology. Beside these created propaganda government will continue the good program & policy to increase employment opportunities in the country.
Speaking on the implementation of the contribution based social security program, Minister Bista said that the progress of Nepal is not in a state of great dissatisfaction after seeing the experience of other countries who had initiated the scheme but there is more work to be done for effective implementation of it. He further informed that the government is preparing to implement the contribution-based social security program maximum within three months period.He said that the campaign is being conduction by GEFONT would be effective in implementing contribution-based social security programs.
Earlier in the program, in key note speech, GEFONT President Cde. Binod Shrestha recalls senior leaders of GEFONT who made significant contributions to the establishment of GEFONT. He further briefed on ongoing movement of GEFONT even in the midst of the hard times.
President Shrestha further said that initially those who involve in physical labour were only considered as a labour. But now in trade union movement widespread acceptance that the intellectual labor has also been considered as a labour . He said that there were many laws and policy in favor of working class in the country due to the movements led by GEFONT. Shrestha said the trade union movement, which started from zero and has now come to a place of pride in the world.
President Shrestha thanked everyone for their valuable contribution for increment of membership by 10 percent and as well as financial sustainability within the period of one year after GEFONT 7th Congress. He said that there are more than 40 percent women in GEFONT central leadership and it will be further increased. Important issues like formation of labor commission, class representation, which are being raised by GEFONT are yet to be completed. For that also president urged everyone for continue effort in the movement. He said “we have to keep focusing for the effective implementation of contribution-based Social Security, wage payment through bank account”.
Likewise, GEFONT Vice President Ramesh Badal highlighted the inevitability of labor audit for effective implementation of Labor Act. He further said that if all the industries will be required to do labour audit compulsory within the next December the implementation of the Labor Act would be clear.
Vice President Badal said it is important to strengthen OSH issue for that province & local Governments should be included. He further added the Prime Minister's Employment Program would be more effective if it could work like bridge between those who are looking for employment and those who are looking for employee. He said “some people are misguiding that cutting grass, cleaning drainage is not a category of work he urged them to respect all kinds work. Vice President Badal presented the fact that about four thousand employers and thirty thousand workers were listed so far in the social security program that is not very disappointed statistic.
He said all the countries worldwide having social security scheme also didn’t have a very big achievement in the first year of implementation. He also informs that the provision that to get PAN numbers for payment of wages would not be harmful to the workers.
General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) was established on 20th July 1989. As there was no union right in Nepal; GEFONT was established underground. Now GEFONT count four lakhs forty thousand, seven hundred and twelve members all over the country and in abroad. It has a strong component of the sector wise active unions covering of all labour sectors nationwidea by the leaders & caders of GEFONT.