BN° 034

Boss! Let us exhibit honesty!

We had agreed with employers’ organisation to fix minimum wage nationwide! What does it mean? It means those we were getting minimum 6,200 Rs will be paid 8,000 Rs from June 10, 2013 onwards! It is floor-level pay, no body shall pay less than this- a breakdown is; 5, 100 basic salary + 2,900 dearness allowances! What will be the pay for those who were getting then, above 6200 to 8,000 and 8,000 above? We had agreed it was ‘in-house issue’, and would be adjusted through local CBA! Since ‘above the minimum’ is related to size & profit of the enterprises, the issue of ‘enterprise to enterprise’ local bargaining suggest to deal based on capacity of each enterprise itself. Thus our agreement with apex body of employer’s organisation was- the issue will be addressed by collective agreement between workers’ and management’s representatives of the each workplace. To avoid competition & rivalry between unions, the JTUCC had agreed to form common bargaining panel comprises with all recognised unions in the company concerned. In the enterprise if there was already authentic union in place, the union will represent all workers! To avoid misunderstanding and legal hiccup- we had agreed to follow a process based on article 74 of the Labour Act-2048! By June 14, these processes were carried on throughout the country covering entire workplaces. To make understanding harmonious, the JTUCC briefed to top-leaders of FNCCI, CNI and others on June 8, what the unions were going to do! This was basic understanding; let every stake holder recall this!

Followed by June 14, result came out mixed- in some places, I would say the smart management; quickly adjust salary issue before tabling any charter of demands! They made happy to their staffers without any hesitation.  In some places the management invited union’s team and made immediately the deal before flaring up of the discontent & mistrust between them. Thanks to those all employers!

No problem, related to wage issue, was demonstrated at entire workplaces of Mechi- Koshi-Sagarmatha-Bagmati-Lumbini-Gandaki-Rapti-Bheri and Seti Zones. In Narayani Zone especially at Birgunj- Pathalaiya corridor, about 50 collective demands were submitted. Out of these, some 13 enterprises failed to address issue on time. It is pity, seemingly dishonesty has been exhibited by the employers of these companies. They’d even instigated their central leadership to play foul, framing propaganda through our “professional” media! As its inherent ‘nature’, the Dept of Labour (DOL) enters in the play ground unnecessarily. A false message through its press-note (favouring bosses?!), the DOL “warned” employees & unions mentioning that the govt had reviewed the minimum wage only and other claims of the employees beyond this were “illegal”. Half truth, the tripartite committee had fixed the rate of minimum wage is true, however half-false circulating by the DOL was denial of right to CBA; which even was against the letter & spirit of existing labour legislations! It is 100% legal that workers of every enterprise has right to submit Collective demands in due process to adjust and address their grievances. And this time we were carrying this action in consultation with Apex Body of employers’ organisation. Pity to note that, when unions were busy to settle minimum rate- the DOL guys went to Birgunj-Pathlaiya corridor and played an interesting “Drama” by declaring so-called “peace-zone”; which generated unnecessary aggressiveness among bargaining parties; this time while unions were silently conducting their dialogue with their bosses- the DOL issued unnecessary & wrong statement, which again generated aggressiveness within unions. That caused closer of one dozen enterprises yesterday and the day before! Why this and what for such provocation- there is remained a large question mark?!

I would like to aware our good employers, do not associate in any sort of the blame-game please! Kindly do not invite politicians or even we top leaders of the national centre and the union federations at your workplace; it is your in-house problem! And I am sure, you better know- how to adjust salary issue of your staffs! It is extremely necessary that you have to honour principle of IR; thus do not hesitate to follow the social dialogue with your own partners in the workplace. Remember, you all had told we unionists- there shouldn’t be any ‘third-party intervention’ in your workplace. You had-time and again asked us, centrally we can fixed floor level things only- just; on and above addition and any sort of decision should be the matter of parties in individual enterprises. After long consultation and dialogue, we had agreed your proposal! It’s your turn, thus let deal with your own workers – which way & how much rupees be increased in your company!

If you can’t deal with your own staffs, it’s a problem definitely! In such condition, I have a humble question- are you ready to go ‘reverse-gear’ of your earlier position? If yes, come on- we unionists are ready to fix all wage and benefits centrally, we will register union centrally; we will operate our branch only in your company. And in this condition, you have to give up your declared position of “paying capacity”, “third party intervention” and so on the much listened ‘hue-n-cry’! What’s up Boss? Let us exhibit sufficient honesty! No double standard is welcomed!

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