Dabur Nepal resumes work after 27 days amid unease (Lead)

September 25th, 2008 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sep 25 (IANS) After remaining closed for 27 days due to labour trouble, Dabur Nepal resumed work at its factory in southern Nepal Wednesday night.However, it was an uneasy resumption with the Maoist union, who had enforced the strike officially from Aug 31 but had halted work two days earlier, still flexing its muscle. It barred three senior employees from entering the factory in Rampur village in southern Bara district on the ground that they had engaged in “anti-worker activities” during the strike.

Talks resumed between the management and the All Nepal Trade Union Federation (Revolutionary) who had called the strike last month demanding a 10 percent bonus for the upcoming Hindu festival of Dashain, Nepal’s biggest festival.

The strikers had rejected the statistics tabled by the management, accusing them of falsifying profit figures.

After the government formed a committee headed by the undersecretary at the ministry of labour and transport management to probe the union’s grievances, it called off the stir on Sep 13.

However, Dabur Nepal, the wholly owned subsidiary of Indian ayurvedic giant Dabur India and Nepal’s biggest exporter, refused to reopen the factory, counter-demanding that the union sign an eight-point agreement.

The company was pressing for further strikes to be declared illegal and no payment for the strike period as well as disciplinary action against truant employees.

After a loss of over Nepali Rs.250 million ($3.4 million), the factory reopened Wednesday night.

Dabur’s case was taken up by visiting Indian Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh who during his three-day Nepal visit this week said the Indian investor was concerned over Dabur’s plight.

“It’s a big company and occupies a lot of media space in India,” Ramesh said.

Dabur Nepal’s officials evaded media queries while the Maoist union said they would fight the management demands.

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