On December 3 and 4, a “Seminar on Industrial Relations (IR) and Labor Policy” was held in Kathmandu through cooperation with the ITUC-NAC (the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GFONT), and the All Nepal Federation of Trade Unions (ANTUF)). The seminar was attended by 68 labor union officers affiliated with the ITUC-NAC.
At the opening ceremony, NTUC President Pushkar Acharya, presidents of three trade union organizations, Vice President of the employers' confederation (FNCCI) Ram Chandra Sanghai, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (MOLESS) Ram Chandra Dhakal, and Senior Program Officer of the ILO Nepal Office Saloman Rajbanshi delivered remarks, in which they mentioned the significance of this seminar and thanked JILAF and the Japanese government for their cooperation.
Next, Mr. Yogendra Kumar Kunwar, General Secretary of the NTUC, gave a lecture on "The Revised Labor Law: In Particular, Collective Bargaining and Social Dialogue," and he stressed the importance of building constructive labor-management relations, stating, “While the revision of labor laws will make it more important to build labor-management and government-labor-management relations, it is important that in negotiations, rather than immediately exercising the right to strike, both labor and management take a position of persistent consultation while maintaining an attitude of mutual respect and sharing information.”
After that, JILAF Program Manager Morishita gave a presentation on "Activities of Japanese Labor Unions and Social Dialogue During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” touching on the fact that (1) employment stability, (2) dialogue between government, labor, and management at every opportunity, and (3) fair distribution based on the three principles of productivity have been taken up as priority issues by labor unions in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to mentioning the existence of the Labor Policy Council which serves as a mechanism for tripartite consultation and that the Council discusses stable employment in particular. He stated that “I believe that in the long run, working hand in hand to solve social issues, rather than employers and workers quarreling with each other, will be better for the lives of workers and the development of the country during this period of contraction for profits for society as a whole due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And in order for the voice of labor unions to carry weight in tripartite discussions, it is important to have constructive labor-management relations in which labor and management consult fairly on a regular basis to decide things.”
On the second day, Mr. Krishna Adhikari, Director of the Social Security Fund, gave a lecture on the social security system in Nepal focused on an overview of the system and its challenges, which was followed by a lecture on labor-management relations in Nepal by Hansa Ram Pandey, Senior Expert, FNCCI, who discussed the topic with the seminar participants. He concluded by saying, “Labor-management relations are not achieved in a day. Both labor and management must reconcile their consciousness and ways of thinking through consultation. The most important thing is for labor and management to trust each other. Labor unions should be interested in management, and management should be interested in improving the work environment and the lives of employees.”
At the closing ceremony, NTUC Deputy General Secretary Ganesh Bahadur K.C. thanked JILAF for visiting Nepal under such difficult circumstances and then stated that "We must put into practice in each workplace that good labor-management relations lead to high productivity," to which JILAF Deputy Secretary General Saito responded, after expressing his gratitude to the participants and the secretariat, "It was not possible to build a constructive labor-management relationship in Japan from the beginning. It took many years to build. I hope that the people of Nepal will not give up in the face of various challenges and difficulties and will continue to communicate with employers. A path will surely open up.” This concluded the two-day seminar.