KATHMANDU, April 1: Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal has assured the business community that the government would restore industrial peace by applying ´rule of law´ if the ongoing unrest in some industrial estates doesn´t end within two days.
Amid week-long industrial shutdown imposed by different trade unions in Biratnagar and Birgunj, a delegation of businessmen had met Khanal on Thursday to hand over the keys of industries demanding government efforts to end the ongoing labor unrest.
"We are ready to create conducive industrial environment in the areas where labor stirs forced industries to shut down. We will first call the agitating labor unions for dialogue to reach an amicable solution. We will take other measures if our efforts to end the unrest fail to yield result within two days," Bhaskar Raj Rajkarnikar, vice-president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) quoted Khanal as saying.
The delegation decided not to hand over the keys of factories after Khanal suggested such a move would send a negative message to the public. Earlier, they had met Minister for Labor and Transport Management Top Bahadur Rayamajhi.
According to Rajkarnikar, Khanal had stressed resolving the ongoing labor stir though political dialogue as it is politically motivated.
The Ministry of Labor and Transport Management on Thursday urged all agitating trade unions to sit for negotiation with the government on Friday by withdrawing all protest programs.
With the support of two factions of Maoist trade union All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) led by Badri Bajagain and Lal Dhwaj Nembang, three Madhes-based trade unions have shut down over 1,500 industries in Biratnagar-Sunsari and Birgunj-Patlaiya industrial corridors demanding revocation of the agreement signed between three major trade unions and employers associations on March 24.
The FNCCI and Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) had inked an 11-point pact with the major trade unions - ANTUF, CPN-UML-affiliated General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GFONT) and Nepali Congress-affiliated Nepal Trade Union Congress - Independent (NTUC-I) ending a one-and-half-month labor unrest in major industrial hubs.
Madeshi trade unions have expressed reservations over the agreement stating that they were not involved in the negotiation process that led to the pact between major trade unions and employers.
However, FNCCI and the signatory trade unions have already clarified that they wouldn´t backtrack from the letter and spirit of the agreement and expressed commitment to sincerely implement the pact that has guaranteed social security for workers, and discourages workers from participating in political activities, among others.