Single apolitical union proposedThe government has proposed a single trade union in civil service as it drafts a law to regulate the federal civil service.
The government has proposed a single trade union in civil service as it drafts a law to regulate the federal civil service. There are complaints that the influence of political party-affiliated trade unions has affected service delivery.
The ‘Bill on Formation of Federal Civil Service, Operation and Conditions of Service’ proposes a single elected trade union, apolitical in nature. The existing Civil Service Act allows several trade unions. They are charged with following the dictates of the political party they are close to.
Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lalbabu Pandit told the Post on Friday that the move is aimed at ending multiple trade unions. At present, the official trade union is heard less often than the unions linked to the parties, Pandit said. As the law stands, representatives of different trade unions elect the official trade union while the bodies operate independently. The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has forwarded the draft bill to the Ministry of Law and Justice, and the Ministry of Finance for their opinions.
Trade unions have opposed the proposed provision arguing that it curbs their rights. “As we adopt a multi-party system, existence of multiple trade unions should not be ruled out,” said Punya Prasad Dhakal, president of the official trade union of civil servants. “Instead, they should be managed properly.”
Dhakal said the unions are in favour of continuing with the provision on trade unions, warning of protests against attempts to change it.
As per the Act, trade unions are authorised to take their organisation to the national, department and district levels. They can also form a federation and take membership of international organisations.
Under the existing law, central level officials of trade unions and the official trade union get up to 30 days of deputised leave (kaj) for seminars and conventions within the country and beyond in a year. But the proposed bill does not offer such perks to officials at the single trade union.
Experts say that the proposed provision will help clean up bureaucracy if implemented properly. “Intervention by party-affiliated trade unions is a reason behind the sorry state of bureaucracy. They invite political intervention during promotion and transfer, lowering the morale of honest civil servants,” said former chief secretary Bimal Koirala.
Trade union elections are proposed to be held every three years. Currently, trade unions need to renew their organisations every four years. The bill bars a single person from serving more than two terms as an official or member of the trade union.