KATHMANDU, May 1: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has extended best wishes to the workers within the country and abroad on the occasion of May Day 2020.
In his message, the PM has said May Day is the day that commemorates the movement started by the trade unions to put to an end the excesses and exploitation by the employers and the workers across the world have been marking the Day since the last 131 years as the International Labour Day. He said the Day has been established as the day to maintain balance between work, rest and recreation of workers.
"Nepal's labour movement has been celebrating this day as the day commemorating all the movements that have been waged for the 'dignified, prosperous and creative' life of workers. We have been marking this day as a celebration of 'unity and achievement' of Nepali workers over the last some years. May 1 is also considered the day to discuss the achievements made in the 'world of work' and to resolve for fulfilling the remaining works," the PM stated.
"However, at the threshold of this May Day we are involved in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and our immediate efforts are centred on resolving the problems created by this pandemic."
Noting that this year's May Day is being marked in a different form in the context of the lockdown enforced to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister said, "Like in the 210 countries affected by the pandemic, the mainstay of our country's production system is disrupted at present." The PM described the present lockdown as a global phenomenon and a mandatory one, adding that this has to be accepted due to the coronavirus which has adversely affected the construction, employment and production.
"This context has created a new situation which all classes needed to seriously understand the relation between work and production as well as its significance. Labour is the basic thing and life the primary thing. The present reality has made it clear that capital and technology without labourers is meaningless."
Expressing regrets to the difficult life workers of all types in the country are facing due to the reduction of income owing to the closure of industries and businesses, PM Oli said he was also aware and serious regarding the problems faced by the hundreds of thousands of Nepali migrant workers abroad and extends his solidarity with them.
"Our economy had been moving on trajectory of rapid development since the last two years. High understanding had been maintained between the industrialists and workers both sides with the government's coordination. Due to this understanding, the minimum wage of the workers had increased by 39 per cent, the highest increase in history. Our economic growth rate had been increasing by double digit and the government had doubled the budget to the labour sector in the second year compared to the first year," the PM noted.
He said that employment equivalent to 2.2 million work days had been created in the last two years through the Prime Minister Employment Programme. There were other schemes as well to increase employment and for supporting the social security of workers. Employment equivalent to at least 100 days was guaranteed in a year.
Labour agreements were signed with various countries and simplified technology-based labour services were started. Skill development and entrepreneurship promotion programmes targeting the unemployed were operated. "Nepal's political movement has been providing ideological leadership to the trade union movement. But the trade union movement has taught many things to the political movement - not getting nervous at times of difficulty and to prepare for the worst and holding social dialogue for the just distribution of the profit made during favourable time as well as moving ahead together by maintaining unity in diversity.
Calling upon all sides to move ahead together like the trade unions in the present difficult time by correcting any shortcomings and by becoming disciplined, PM through the message also urged for sincerity in our efforts and taking account of the time we have in hand.