Trade unions, govt reps discuss employment situation, post-Covid challenges in SAARC region

KATHMANDU: Representatives of employers, trade unions and governments of South Asian countries on Saturday held a discussion about the impact of Covid-19 at the workplace, and the employment situation in SAARC countries.

Employers, trade unions and government representatives from Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan attended the programme with the topic ‘Building Resilience for Future of Work and Post Covid-19’ organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), on Saturday.

Addressing the programme, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Vice President and Chairperson of the Employers’ Council Ram Chandra Sanghai said the labour market scenario has changed and new challenges have emerged after Covid 19 pandemic subsided. He said more efforts are needed to face these challenges and emphasized the need for appropriate strategies and policies for this.

Sanghai said a large part of the economy in South Asia is still informal, and that it is important to ensure the sustainability of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the formalisation of the informal sector, economic growth, job creation and improved working conditions. “Geographically, South Asian countries are close to each other, there are various means and mechanisms for sharing experience, South Asian Forum of Employers (SAFE) is one of them,” said Sanghai, who is also the SAFE president, and added the joint efforts are necessary to mobilise SAFE more effectively for the mutual benefit and cooperation.

Richard Howard, Director ILO Country Office for Nepal; Ravi Peiris, Senior Specialist, ILO, New Delhi; Laxman Basnet, General Secretary of South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC), Dandu Raj Ghimire, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security; and other senior specialists at ILO Kathmandu and Delhi, also addressed the programme.


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