Members of a tripartite plus task force on quality tea have stressed the urgency to implement the recently announced minimum wage for workers. Trade union representatives said the minimum wage was announced in consensus among workers, employers and the government and any delay in its implementation would not be tolerated under any pretexts.
The task force comprises Nepal Tea and Coffee Development Board, representatives of employers and workers, cooperatives, Tea Planters’ Association and Special Tea Association, Nepal with International Labour Organization (ILO) assisting as a secretariat. ‘Quick action from the employers and the government is expected before the workers’ frustration leads to a strike with consequences for the industry, ‘ warned Dhan Bahadur Bishwakarma, Vice President of All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF). Central member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Coordinator of the Task Force, Hem Raj Dhakal said employers in the tea sector also had issues and urged the government to provide soft loan and other logistics to be in a better position to support the workers. ‘The government should learn from our neighbours how to boost the tea sector and facilitate workers and farmers, ‘ he said.
Former Minister of State and tea entrepreneur Deepak Prakash Baskota called for revising the tea policy to match with the federal structure and upholding the value chain of tea industry. Director of ILO Country Office for Nepal, Dr Richard Howard appreciated the tripartite constituents for forming the task force to implement labour rights and responsible business practices. ‘Social dialogue is a proven tool for workers and employers to share their differences and discover a point of understanding leading to improved working and living conditions for workers and enhanced productivity, ‘ said Dr. Howard. Coordinator of ILO/UNNATI Programme, Nabin Kumar Karna said ILO will continue to enhance the capacity of task force to host productive social dialogues to help establish tea sector as lucrative for employment as well as investment.
Supported by UNNATI-Inclusive Growth Programme in Nepal, the ILO implemented Advocacy Challenge Fund, promotes the spirit of partnership approach to effectively implement t h e F u n d a m e n t a l Principles and Rights at Work, Multinational Enterprises Declaration, UN Global Compact Principles and other labour related instruments in the tea sector for responsible business practices.