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Book on Labor Movement

Twelve Years of Labor World ( Shram Sansarka Barhabarsha)

Edited by: Bishnu Rimal, Umesh Upadhyaya, Kabindrashekhar Rimal, Binda Pandey, Ramesh Badal, Agni Sikha
Published Year: 2003
Published by: General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) & Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)

Price: Rs. 200, Pages: 686

ISBN No: 99933-771-8-X


From left to right and center to extreme, all the political parties have formed the labor unions as a sister organization to raise issues related to labor. Following the restoration of democracy, the labor unions affiliated to the CPN-UML had made tremendous improvement.

The book “Twelve Years of Labor World” is a first of its kind covering various aspects of the labor movement in Nepal. In a country with relatively new history of trade union movement, the history is replete with many ups and downs. Although most of the political leaders including former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala and late Manmohan Adhikary started their political career as trade union activists, Nepal’s work force have to face a long struggle to establish their rights.

The book, which has been published with the support of FES/ Nepal, deals with gender, trade union, trade union politics and the problems of trade union in different areas including in the tourism sector, transport sector and industrial sector.

Following the restoration of democracy and liberal atmosphere, the country’s trade union struggle has also passed through an agitating phase to more reconciliatory one. But, it is still led by agitating and extreme groups. With articles contributed by president of GEFONT and member of CPN-UML Mukunda Neupane, general secretary Bishnu Rimal, Umesh Upadhyaya, Balram Khatri and Binda Pandey, one can read about different aspects highlighting real problems of trade union movement in Nepal.

In his article, past and present of trade union in Nepal, general secretary Rimal highlights the evolutionary process of Nepal’s labor movement and its historical importance in the country. Although Rimal is more concerned about the problems of trade union workers, he also explains the challenges faced by Nepalese industries as a whole. In the early phase, Nepalese labor movement had passed through a phase to restore their rights. In second phase, workers had to fight for many other benefits including establishing their rights through the legal point of view.

Like other countries Nepal’s trade union movement is also divided by political ideology. Thanks to the division in the trade unions, the workers have to suffer. Because of ideological affiliation and frequent political intervention, the country’s trade union is guided by political decision. While GEFONT is affiliated to the Nepal Communist Party –Unified Marxist Leninist, other half a dozen of trade unions also are affiliated with other major parties including Nepali Congress. But, only two trade unions are powerful.

Although the contributors are the one who have had a long experience of struggling in the trade union movements, they seem to be less interested to paint the true picture of the trade union movement in Nepal. In the article Politics and Trade Union, president of GEFONT just accuses his political rivals Nepal Trade Union Congress and other trade unions for not making concrete efforts to raise the issue of laborers.

Despite lapses and shortcomings, the book helps to understand difficult and different phase of labor movement in Nepal in the last five decades and, particularly, after the restoration of democracy.

Twelve years ago, the GEFONT did not have any infrastructures but today it has its own building equipped with the medical and other facilities for the laborers. The problem, which the book obviously ignores, is how to overcome the political interference in labor movement.

Source: SPOTLIGHT (19-25 March 2004)

Copyright©2001. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Nepal Office
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