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Garment companies reject demands for pay hikes
Aug '09
Increasing the salaries of employees in the government sector would also make the workers in private sector to demand for a salary hike, Mr. Kush Kumar Joshi, President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), had warned at a program, before the presentation of new budget.

This prediction of the FNCCI President proved correct when the UCPN (Maoist) - affiliated All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) sought a 100 percent increase in the allowance and 40 percent hike in basic salary. An official of ANTUF said that price hike in essential items is not allowing the workers to survive on current salary structure.

President of the Garment Association of Nepal (GAN), Mr. Prasanta Pokharel said that before a few days, the association has received demands regarding salary hike and allowance, but are not in a position to pay the same. The ANTUF official has said that the pay should be increased on par with that of government employees.

After the protest of civil servants against government for not increasing their pay in the budget, the government recently increased the salary for non-gazetted employees by 6 percent and for gazetted employees by 4 percent. The employees were demanding salary hike as country's inflation rate was mounting up.

ANTUF official said that if their demands were not met, their union will announce a struggle program within 10 days. But the industrialists are responding to the situation by saying that they are not compelled to increase the pay and allowances, since they had increased the salaries just before nine months.

Acting President of FNCCI Mr. Suraj Vaidya said that according to the tripartite agreement among the trade unions, employees and government, the salary will be reviewed only after two years. However, he said that he has been hearing informally about theses demands as; FNCCI has not received any formal complaint from its members regarding the same.

He further said that the additional increments in salary would close down the industries as they are already operating below capacity at present. Number of employees in the garment sector has shrunk to 30,000 from 50,000 and that of workforce in carpet sector has dropped down from 300,000 to 50,000 as these industries are unable to compete in the international market.

Mr. Pokharel said that the private sector workers need non-funded social security in spite of the salary increase, and GAN has been contributing 23 percent of the workers' social security while the workers are contributing 10 percent of it. But, the government's contribution is insignificant, he added.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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