Long live our solidarity and sisterhood!

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Long live our solidarity and sisterhood!

Pemba Lama, Deputy General Secretary of the General Federation of Nepalese Trades Unions addresses the TUC's celebration of International Women's Day on Monday 7 March 2011

Pemba Lama

No country in the world can remain isolated from the impact of the global economic crisis. There maybe varying proportions of the impact on different countries; this may be because of the stage of development of the country.

Developing countries like Nepal are facing mostly the indirect effect of the global economic crisis because of its dependency on remittances from Nepalis working overseas. Last year some 3000 Nepali migrant workers came back home from Gulf countries because the factories were closed because of crisis.

In Malaysia, 500,000 Nepali migrant workers are working currently. The Malaysian Government took steps to stop migrant workers and to employ native workers instead. Therefore these Nepali migrant workers have been affected by the crisis and are now coming back to the country. One electronic manufacturing company has dismissed 50 per cent of workers showing the cause of crisis.

The worker who goes to the Middle East and other countries of Asia in search of work - it means that they are going there in search of survival for themselves and their family's sake. They deposit all their earnings but can sometimes end up having to borrow money from money lenders at a very high cost, sometimes paying 60 per cent interest per month. And meanwhile their family are waiting for a better life. In this situation if they come back with empty hands and cannot repay their debts, it can be a death situation for the worker. There won't be another chance and they will have to spend their life in bonded labour, compelled to work in low-paid work or the informal sector where they will find it very difficult to solve their hand-to-mouth problems.

So, the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Union (GEFONT) is trying to secure the decent work and decent life for the informal sector's workers, including domestic workers who are often in the most vulnerable situation. These workers, who are overwhelmingly women workers experience:

Low pay or no pay

No recognition as worker

Sometimes domestic violence

No law coverage and social security

Use of child labour

So, it is very important to secure the position of domestic workers as workers with rights to Decent Work. In this regard the national and international community have to join together to bring about the new International Labour Organisation convention on the rights of domestic workers in June this year because 'One corner of the world's poverty affects another corner of the world'.

Let us:

Build international solidarity

Fight against poverty

And unite to secure decent work for all, because another world is possible.

Thank you for this great opportunity - TUC, Long live our solidarity and sisterhood.

Pemba Lama

Deputy General Secretary - GEFONT

7 March 2011

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