Tourism entrepreneurs today condemned workers affiliated to Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist for requesting foreign embassies of different countries to advise their citizens against using the service of four trekking companies in Nepal.
Joint Tourism Coordination Committee – a loose group of travel trade associations – organising a press meet in the capital today blamed All Nepal Revolutionary Tourism Workers Union for writing letters to United Kingdom, USA, China, India, Denmark and Germany embassies requesting them to advise their citizens against taking service of Himalaya Expeditions, Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure, Peak Promotion and Himalaya Guides Nepal.
The union had – on August 19 – asked 14 trekking companies to pay the workers pending salaries and benefit. The union had also objected ‘hire and fire’ policy and asked the companies to reinstate fired staff.
President of Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure Suman Pandey said that the union has asked him to hire a worker – on a permanent basis – who had worked on contract basis in 2010-11. “The union has also asked to pay accrued salary and benefits to the workers since 2010,” he said, adding that trekking agencies cannot hire all staff on a permanent basis due to the nature of business that is seasonal.
The coordinator of the committee Ramesh Dhamala said – according to the Labour Law – staff working for 240 days in any given calendar year should be permanently. “But due to seasonal nature of the business, the trekking agencies cannot hire the workers permanently,” he said, adding that some members of the union has also threatened their staff.
The committee has also asked Home Ministry to arrange for security.
The threat has come right before the start of the peak tourist season that begins in September. The period September-November accounts for more than 35 per cent of tourist arrivals and most of them go trekking in the Himalayan foothills.
Dhamala said that on October 1, 2012, TAAN and the workers unions had agreed to hike daily wages of guides and other workers. The agreement was implemented from January 1, 2013. Besides hiking the daily wages, TAAN had also set up a workers welfare trust and fully implemented the Labour Act.