Thursday, August 18, 2011

Labor issues cost closure of another garment factory in Nepal

The beleaguered Nepalese garment industry has lost one of the top performs—Surya Nepal, which produces popular international brand John Players and exports to India, the US, Canada, France and other European countries—due to protracted labor problems.

The blame should squarely go to the trade unions that have been letting its members use militant behavior to press their demands (remember locking management staff and giving physical threats?), which has so far revolved around increasing wages (multiple times in a year) and social security (which is a newly introduced concept). When will the trade unions (read its bosses) get satisfied with wages? What is the final deal?  What happened to this deal between labor unions and FNCCI? Do the trade union leaders really represent their members (or trade union members honor agreements singed by their organization heads)?

The policy inconsistency of government and stance inconsistency of trade unions (that have been using extralegal means to press their demands) is bleeding the industrial sector. Vested interests of trade union bosses and their bosses of political parties are actually costing not only the industrial sector but also the naïve workers who think they are represented by the leaders are politicians who are past their retirement age. Closing down Surya Nepal will cost 650 direct and 1400 indirect employment. We already lost Colgate Palmolive, Dabur Nepal, Kodak and other MNCs due to labor and political problems. 

Established in 2004 with an investment of Rs 700 million, Surya Nepal was producing popular international brands like John Players and Springwood. The industry was directly employing more than 700 workers, of which majority were women. Likewise, it was providing employment to other 1,400 workers mainly by contracting out its production orders.

Also, read this article that explains how labor militancy is leading to strike-unemployment cycle. This statement is even valid right now: “If you have lost a job, are potentially going to lose, or cannot get one in the market, then blame the outrageous, militant youth wings and the politicians who incite the unions to go on a destructive path.” Read this article that explains the disconnect between outrageous labor demands not matched by labor productivity.