Taan blasts union threat to send back tourists

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Aug 25, 2014-

The Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (Taan) on Monday condemned the All Nepal Revolutionary Tourism Workers’ Union (ANRTWU) for threatening to send back tourists handled by four particular travel agencies.

The ANRTWU, which is affiliated with the CPN-Maoist, had written to the Indian, Danish, American and German embassies in Kathmandu on August 15 that it would prevent tourists handled by Explore Himalaya Travel Adventure, Himalaya Expedition, Peak Promotion and Himalaya Guide Nepal from touring in Nepal.

The threat has come right before the start of Nepal’s peak tourist season that begins in September. The period September-November accounts for more than 35 percent of the tourist arrivals to Nepal, and most of them go trekking in the Himalayan foothills.  

Taan told a press meet on Monday that its serious attention had been drawn to the warning saying that the act would have dire consequences on the country’s tourism. “We have written to the embassies not to take the issue seriously as it would be settled through a discussion,” said Taan’s President Ramesh Dhamala.

The ANRTWU issued the warning to press its demand for a raise and reinstatement of their cadres removed from their jobs. Dhamala said that on October 1, 2012, Taan and the workers unions had reached an agreement to hike the daily wages of guides and other workers. The agreement was implemented from January 1, 2013. Besides hiking the daily wages, Taan has also set up a workers welfare trust and fully implemented the Labour Act. “The sudden agitation launched by the ANRTWU has terrorized the industry,” he said.

“As most of the trekking agencies are not able to employ workers on a permanent basis, we are working to sort out the issue through a dialogue.” The Labour Act says that workers who have been working regularly at an organization for 240 days have a right to obtain permanent status.

Suman Pandey, president of Explore Himalaya and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata) Nepal Chapter, said he was issued an ultimatum by the ANRTWU to reinstate one of the workers who had quit three years ago to a permanent position. “The way the ANRTWU has announced the agitation targeting particular firms with unreasonable demands has created fear and disharmonized the working environment in the industry,” Pandey added.

Published: 26-08-2014 09:40

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