Nepal: Trade unions promote social security as a means to achieve the Agenda 2030

by Mahandra Pd. Yadrav, Senior Vice-President, Nepal Trade Union Congress

The International Labour Organisation’s Decent Work Agenda and its four pillars have influenced very much the drafting of Nepal’s Contribution Based Social Security Act 2017 (CBSSA). Trade Unions, including the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), were central to produce this legislation. For the NTUC, the CBSSA is a central tool to address structural inequalities that are stopping the country from growing in a sustainable and human-centred way.

Since the Decent Work Agenda is at the core of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 8 and impregnates all the other 16 SDGs, the CBSSA also plays an important role in Nepal’s strategy to reach the objectives and targets of the Agenda 2030. The NTUC, along with other trade unions, is very much committed to the objectives of Agenda 2030 and address the important challenges facing Nepal.

Nepal’s economy is imbalanced. It is very much agriculture-dependent, putting the country in a very fragile position due to the impact of climate change and other natural catastrophes. The informal economy is predominant in the labour market. There is a widespread gender-based wage discrimination. Underemployment is as high as 27.8 per cent among 15 to 59 years old workers and 25 per cent of workers are “working poor”. All these factors, among many others, are impeding Nepal from growing more and better. Trade unions are convinced that the CSSAB will be a very useful tool to address these obstacles. Therefore, they are engaging with solidarity organisations to run awareness raising actions among members and society at large. From an advocacy side, unions also are discussing with the Nepalese government to make sure that it gives high priority to the immediate and effective implementation of the CSSAB.