Workers end strike, but Dabur Nepal wants pact

September 14th, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sep 14 (IANS) The discord at the Nepal factory of Indian multinational Dabur has reached a new stage with its striking workers saying they are ready to return to work but the management refusing to resume production until the striking union signs an agreement.After a 13-day strike that caused Dabur Nepal, Dabur India’s wholly-owned subsidiary in this Himalayan nation, a loss of millions of rupees, workers affiliated to the Maoist trade union Saturday pasted a notice at the gate of the company’s factory in Rampur village in Bara district near the Indo-Nepal border, that they have ended the strike.

The All Nepal Trade Union Federation (Revolutionary), the powerful trade union of the ruling Maoist party, had struck work from Aug 31, demanding higher bonus.

Though Dabur Nepal agreed to pay its employees the 10 percent bonus decreed by Nepal’s labour laws, the Maoist union accused the management of suppressing actual profit figures.

Dabur Nepal’s chief executive officer Udayan Ganguly told IANS Sunday the company wanted an agreement with the union before it resumed operation.

“In answer to their notice, we have also pasted ours at the gate on Saturday,” Ganguly said. “In it we have mentioned our conditions.”

The Indian company, that this week asked Nepal’s labour department to declare the strike illegal, is reportedly demanding disciplinary action, as per the law of the land, against errant workers as part of its eight conditions.

It is also demanding that employees affiliated to the trade union follow the work routine and attend union activities two hours a week instead of every day.

Dabur Nepal, Nepal’s biggest exporter and foreign exchange earner, is aggrieved by the fact that despite talks with the labour minister and other departments concerned, the government did not declare the strike illegal.

Instead, the government Friday formed a committee headed by a joint secretary at the labour and transport ministry to investigate the income and expenditure of the multinational.

The committee has been asked to table its report within a month.

The Maoist trade union said it had withdrawn the strike since the government has formed a committee to look into its grievances. However, it said that it would not accept the conditions laid down by the Dabur authorities.

Earlier this year, the Maoists’ sister organisation spearheaded a campaign against Nepal’s prime beauty pageant Miss Nepal, whose main sponsor is Dabur Nepal.

The pageant has been postponed indefinitely. Other lesser beauty pageants, however, have been allowed to be held subsequently.

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