Plan of Action for 2014-2018
Major Achievements of the immediate past tenure
During the current period, our programme for transformation has covered on education/ training programmes to enhance workers awareness, to coordinate with political parties and Constituent Assembly members to formulate pro worker constitution.
Political parties have agreed in principle for 10% representation of working class in state bodies. Adjustment of labour agenda in their drafts by Thematic Committees of CA and formation of ‘Labour and Finance Committee’by the Parliament as the institutional recognition of the utmost importance of labour relations is countable achievement.
Our Policy coverage was much wider to strengthen local structures and struggles, to increase membership in agriculture-construc- tion-self employed sectors, to promote social image of the union movement through mobilizations in special days and to mobilize workers for fair wage and decent work agenda.
In order to implement the broad-based policy Different activities conducted at different phases are as follows:
- A team including President and General Secretary to conduct training/education on structural reform during Zonal Conferences with direction to form local committees in accordance with new structures.
- Geographical area based mobilization of eight teams in order to clarify the role of local GEFONT Delegates, District Committees, District Union Councils and local committees for union formation, membership expansion and Dues collection (based on ‘17 paisa for 17 Rights’ pamphlet).
- Union- based Team Mobilization for solving problems of coordina- tion between committees of Affiliate unions and GEFONT geographical structures.
- Mobilization of 10 high level central teams for continued three months at workplace level to solve the problems faced at grassroots.
- Based on the feeling of big enterprise unions that there problems are not considered with special emphasis, GEFONT organized National workshop of union Presidents of those enterprises where more than 100 workers are employed. The workshop focussed its attention on ways to push forward interest based demands with high strong stress to labour inspection system as a focal point of local unions.
- One week national campaign for management of unions in difficul- ties
- Formulation of Youth Committee as a new structure focusing on Youth and nationwide campaigns
- First phase campaign for the formation of Workers’ Community Club outside our committee hierarchy.
- Preparatory works to mobilize Veteran Unionists Network to coordinate the club and work as a bridge between senior genera- tion and new generation of trade unionists.
Several proposals /suggestions were put forward during 5th National Congress towards restructuring of confederation and affiliates. Many works/ activities designed to function after the formation of federal states, have been postponed for the coming term. Still there were some problems in mobilizing the existing structures in current situation like –Geographic structures, union Councils, Youth, Women and Labour Relation.
- Geographic Structure Coordination Committee was formed to strengthen zonal and its subordinate structures. Main objective of this committee was to facilitate discussion at micro level based on the decisions of National Executive Committee with a view to creative design of plans for effective implementation by Zonal committees. Zone committee is authorized to help or coordinate the unions and district committees along with their local commit- tees under its jurisdiction. Responsibility of GSCC is to coordinate the work of zone committee. But during this term, GSCC Coordina- tor and Member Secretary were expected to attend all the zone, district and local level meetings! This trend negatively affected the independent functioning and leadership development process at Zonal & local level.
- Central Union Council was formed as a Nepali trend for Workers’ controlled union movement. There is risk of over representation of some sector and under representation of others in following the policy of ‘one individual one designation’. To minimize this risk all affiliate federations are grouped under 9 union councils. Each Union council is to send two of its members (one woman and one man) to represent in GEFONT-NEC. The centre of all the union councils - Central Union council is responsible to collect problems of all affiliates and submit recommendations to NEC. Based on the recommendations, NEC would go into new decisions. The central Union Council is expected to plan organizing, training and mobilization which would be followed up and implemented by union councils. However, union councils themselves were less proactive in their role. Hence the unions unknowingly tried to limit the role of Coordinator & Member Secretary of CEC as guests in their programmes.
- Central Labour Relation Council was formed to facilitate Collective bargaining in a dynamic way. It was imperative to discontinue the usual method of linking a single enterprise union leader and/or single central union leader to deal with employer/s for collective bargaining. It was planned to analyse the problems of local level and categorize them under ‘right-based’ and ‘interest-based demands and to assess how violations are taking place, so that ‘labour inspection system’ could be developed to maintain minimum labour standards. In past five years central union council was linked to zonal structure and necessary check list for labour inspection was developed. But local level activities could not be monitored regularly by CLRC and hence tasks related to LIS could not be materialized.
- Veterans Network and GEFONT Community Workers’ Club could not be mobilized effectively. The club was misunderstood as ‘sports club’ in many cases and only youth were expected to be part of it. Similarly, Veterans Network was misinterpreted at grassroots as ‘dumping site for retired unionists’. And hence we could not aware the grassroots about workers collective culture at the residential areas to ensure balance of ‘work – life- family.’
- Membership expansion and organizational strengthening has brought expected results visible at growth rate of membership by 13.7% with additional members 46,799 during this five-year period. To create awareness on and public pressure for the ratifica- tion of ILO Convention 87- concerning Freedom of Association, several campaigns were organized along with attractive promo- tional materials in many places at one time. This issue was raised from the street and pushed to the Constituent Assembly/ Parliament. General Secretary of International Trade Union Confed- eration and Director of ILO-ACTRAV discussed this issue with leaders of political parties, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Constitu- ent Assembly and President of the Republic in their visit. Though the Convention is not ratified, but the campaign has been highly significant.
GEFONT Future Action
Building Workers Power is the necessary condition for Transformation. Major areas of work for building workers power may be put in a formula type expression as Involvement- Organizing-Educating-Mobilizing. Hence focusing these major areas of work, Following is the programme for this tenure:
1. Transformation: By Building Workers power
The Programme for Building Workers Power has two aspects – Right-based and organizational works. Following two headings will include both the aspects:
a) Ask Them: Where is our space ?
- The long run goal of GEFONT is Dignified, prosperous and creative life for working class. Hence to achieve this goal, we will continue the demand for 10% representation of workers in various representative bodies of the state with the slogan 'Where is Our Space?’
- In order to ensure political & constitutional rights of the workers, we will continue strong voice to insert the provisions in new constitution which were already included in the drafts of the committees of dissolved CA
- Continue dialogues, struggle and partnership with Constituent Assembly, Government and political parties.
b) Mobilize- Organizing Academy
- Effective Mobilization of GEFONT Structures and affiliates.
- Launching ‘From Centre To Door to Door’ programme by coordinating GEFONT-Veterans Network, Workers’Community Club and Workers Cooperatives.
- Central Labour Relation Council will coordinate Organizing academy involving of Union Councils, Zonal Committees, Women Committee and Youth Committee.
- Membership expansion by capacity building of new members in Informal sector, emphasis to new membership recruitment and explore potential areas for new opportunities of union expansion.
- Maintaining the rate of membership growth of 13.7% to increase membership.
2. Action for Secured Future
- The policy of ‘The higher the social security, the larger the labour market flexibility’ will be continued along with the activities to aware, promote and pressurize for the 9-themes of social security.
- In order to provide minimum relief to the workers, agreements were done with several private hospitals. These agreements will be continued and upgraded. On the Silver Jubilee ceremony of GEFONT in July, a Solidarity Fund will be declared by involving local unions.
- Continue dialogue with state to develop & implement scheme to utilize the National Welfare Fund for the benefit of the workers.
- Upgrade and continue the programmes for Women health.
3. ‘Count Us in’ Programme
- Get involved in ITUC programme for Gender Equality - ‘Count Us In’
- As suggested by Participatory Gender Audit, an initiative will begin to elect Women’s Committee by National Women Workers Conference within a year. The Conference will also design/concretize the policy for increase in women membership and enhance leadership.
4. One Union-One Voice
Under One Union campaign, several activities based on the principle of Initiatives- Competition-supremacy have created a wider structure for platform of single unionism. Joint Trade Union Coordination Centre (JTUCC) is in the process of taking a solid structure from a loose forum.
Therefore in the coming term,
- Upgrade JTUCC and continue dialogue with other recognised unions
- Continue partnership of GEFONT- NTUC-ANTUF under ITUC frame
- Emphasis on more upgraded GEFONT- CONEP partnership
5. Struggle and Co- Existence
- Labour law formulation and reform on two approaches – Right based and interest based
- Labour relation to be based on coordinated market economic policy and formulation of laws to implement social Security and Labour Inspection System.
6. GEFONT Y-Gen
Our aim is to build union to continue workers’ movement for centuries. Therefore, to handover responsibilities to the future generation becomes imperative and we focus our work on youth generation.
If we calculate the time spanning from 1979 and the present, the three generations is participating in this movement. We need to acknowledge that the third generation is the product of digital age.
Thus, in forthcoming tenure, the structure for involving youth generation should be upgraded to educate and aware the potential youth leaders about labour and politics to develop their leadership capabilities.
7. Connecting the Globe
GEFONT is now a familiar name in international trade union family. This is the outcome of our collectivism in struggle and partnership since past 25 years. GEFONT is well recognized from ITUC to ILO Governing Body and from labour policy research bodies to multilateral social forum.
Therefore, in the forthcoming term, we will continue to contribute in international trade union movement and GEFONT will maintain the necessary connections with International bodies of sub regional, regional and international level, GUFs and national centres of all continents.
8. Organizing Beyond Borders
For the past two decades GEFONT is organizing migrant workers in the destination countries with the slogan 'GEFONT among Workers Wherever They Are'. In some instances our efforts are enviable whereas in some our efforts have not bore fruits. Keeping in mind, the failures and challenges of past two decades in this term, we will
- continue promotional activities for Safe migration and gainful employment
- continue efforts in Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia and focus on Arab nations – Lebanon, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia
- continue partnership and coordination with Diplomatic missions, Trade Unions of destination countries, International Trade Union Movement, Trade Union Solidarity Organizations and Social movements for support to migrant workers.
9. GEFONT- TUPI for Policy Analysis
We will establish and operate Regular Trade Union school for building the base for new generation trade union movement. We will establish GEFONT- Trade Union Policy Institute (GEFONT – TUPI) with a view to facilitate the school with necessary policy analysis. We will also focus our attention to strengthen National Labour Academy for comprehensive research on labour issues.
10. Information and Communication
GEFONT’s Publicity work has been satisfactory and this will be continued in forthcoming term as well. We will further strengthen broadcast and Information communication, and continue partnership with media persons to ensure more favourable social image of GEFONT. We will pay emphasis to further maximize the digital medium like website and smart phones in the coming term.
11. Self-reliance programme
The programme to promote investment could not garner much result during the current period. Even though our fi situation is not discouraging we could not fulfill the dream of initiating a sustainable base for investment.
Therefore, in the coming term, to strengthen our financial programme, following activities will be undertaken:
- Survey for investment and its promotion from new angles
- In order to uplift the economic status of the members at local level, skillfully mobilize the ongoing workers’ cooperatives through promotional campaigns.