KATHMANDU, Dec 13: Staffers at the parliament secretariat have announced agitation from Wednesday demanding resumption of additional perks and allowances for extra hours spent. The additional allowances were stopped since July.
Their protest comes just ahead of the winter session of the parliament, which is to amend at least 174 laws that contradict the constitution. The winter session is expected to begin later this month.
The employees have warned that they would not work extra hours from December 16 if the government doesn't provide them the allowances. Earlier staffers at the parliament secretariat used to enjoy 80 percent extra allowances in addition to their regular salary, overtime allowance and snacks allowance.
“We won't work extra hours without extra benefits. If the government doesn't listen to our demand then we won't be responsible for any obstruction in the lawmaking process as a result of our protest,” said Megh Raj Aryal, chairperson of the trade union at the federal parliament secretariat.
The trade union has been pressing the parliament management committee headed by Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara to resume the allowances or face non-cooperation from the employees. The agitating employees have decided to boycott Friday's Parliament Service Day function. Following their decision, various week-long events including that of Wednesday organized to mark the Day have been affected.
The perks and allowances were stopped from mid-July following a government decision to slash allowances at all government offices. In January, the parliament had also reduced the snacks expenses to Rs 250 per day from Rs 600 per day after the Office of the Auditor General exposed Rs 11.2 million in unsettled accounts under the lunch and snacks heading. After this, the Ministry of Finance decided to stop the additional allowances including the food allowance. Earlier, the Ministry of Finance would allocate Rs 7 million a month for the 80 percent allowances which added a minimum of 19,000 to a maximum of 43,000 to the salaries of parliamentary staffers.
There are around 300 employees under the parliament service, a special government service, including over 220 permanent and some contract-based employees.