July 1, 2021, Kathmandu, Nepal
The Financial Institution Employees Union of Nepal (FIEUN), UNI Global Union’s oldest affiliate in Nepal, launched a campaign to stop the contributory Social Security Fund (SSF) from being made compulsory.
FIEUN supports the establishment of the SSF, born out of tripartite social dialogue talks between the Government, Employers, and Unions, which will see many workers lifted out of poverty in retirement.
However, some significant issues need resolving before making the fund compulsory.
If forced to join the new scheme in its current form, thousands of finance sector workers risk seeing retirement benefits guaranteed by the collective agreements bargained by their unions eroded and their retirement savings cut significantly.
FIEUN rejects notion that finance workers’ hard-won retirement benefits need to be sacrificed for the scheme to work.
FIEUN President Mr. Padam Regmi said, “We support the SSF in principle as it will provide workers a dignified retirement through harnessing our collective capacity. However, we reject unilateral decision-making and lack of worker consultation.
“The SSF should not cut what workers have already negotiated in good faith with their employers. The SSF should allow workers the opportunity to negotiate above the minimum conditions set out by the scheme and provide the best possible outcome for all workers”.
Mr. Regmi concluded, “Finance is our bread and butter. When finance workers say the scheme needs improving, any reasonable person would sit up and listen. That is what we ask of this government”.
President Padam Regmi (in white) addressing members
FIEUN has outlined its concerns and recommendations to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties. Unfortunately, these suggestions remained unaddressed.
A joint statement issued on June 24 by FIEUN affiliates from nearly two dozen banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies urged the SSF to come to the negotiating table.
FIEUN notes that workers will be worse off with fewer benefits or services due to the Social Security Act 34 (3) which contravenes the existing Labor Act. And the union also wants the government to amend Article 64 of the Social Security Act to uphold the right to collective bargaining guaranteed by the ILO Convention 1949 (No. 98), the Constitution 2015, and the Labor Act 2018.
FIEUN is sparing all efforts to ensure no workers suffer due to the new system and hopes that the tripartite parties can resolve the issues through dialogue to arrive at the best possible retirement scheme for Nepal’s workforce.