Nepal: NTUC denounces government’s "mockery of the rule of law"

Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) calls on the government to respect social dialogue and reverse its decision to legislate on minimum wage without the involvement of social partners.

"NTUC has serious objections to the mockery of the rule of law and good governance by the head of government," writes NTUC

Read the full press release:

Nepal Trade Union Congress expresses its heartfelt gratitude to the Honorable Prime Minister K.P. Sharma for his message to the working brothers and sisters scattered around the world and for extending his encouragement for all workers. This Congress is especially concerned on the fact that the Prime Minister has assured that the monthly wages of the workers would be increased by NPR 1,550 from current NPR 13,450 to NPR 15,000 and daily wages of the workers would be increased by NPR 60, thus increasing the minimum daily wage from NPR 517 to NPR 577 effective from Fiscal Year 2078/79.

Pursuant to Section 106 of the Labor Act, 2074 BS, provision has been made to fix the minimum wage every 2 years on the recommendation of the Minimum Wage Determination Committee constituted as per Section 107 of the same Act. According to the said arrangement, the new wages should have been implemented from the Shrawan of 2077/2078 but the revision process started much later due to the situation created by lockdowns and closures due to the Covid 19, but even after the process started then there was no consensus among the stakeholders. The committee has already made a recommendation to the concerned Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security to make a decision on Baisakh 5, 2078 BS. The announcement by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on May Day that the above-mentioned rate will be reviewed has directly interfered with the labor law and the processes and procedures dictated by it. NTUC has serious objections to the mockery of the rule of law and good governance by the head of government at the time before a decision is taken by the concerned body, and this is a mockery of the rule of law.
According to Article 107 (4) of the Labor Act the new wages have to be implemented on at the beginning of the Fiscal Year Shrawan 1 every 2 years, barring any cases where an agreement has been made between the trade union and the employer. The government, therefore, has no right to review the existing wages without any agreement between the employers and the trade unions. This federation wants to question on what ground has the government bypassed the due procedures. It is a matter of wonder who this government is trying to please by dissing the face of the workers with the points proposed by the representatives of the employers’ union disregarded in terms of the amount and implementation time of wages revision and the proposal of review has been done by the government in a tougher manner than expected.

Attempt to impose a one-sided decision to the displeasure of both workers and employers is bound to further complicate the labor market, even when it has been difficult to fully implement the wages that were decided in the past by a tripartite agreement. Therefore, the Federation strongly demands the immediate withdrawal of the announcement made by the Hon’ble Prime Minister regarding the amounts of the new wages, revision of the Minimum Wage and paving the way for the determination of the proper method and procedure as prescribed by law. The practice of speaking by the head of government and later being supported and decided by the concerned authority will weaken the rule of law and the democratic system. Therefore, the NTUC makes a special request to be aware of the negative consequences of such decisions that could lead to conflict in the labor market and in the production of goods and services.

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