Militant Unions and Sinful Profits

Terror of militant labor organizations is nothing new in Nepal. In a country suffering from chronic unemployment, almost all of the major political parties are heavily invested in nurturing and boosting militant labor unions whose sole goal is to shut down factories and businesses-not worker welfare and labor reform.

Surya Nepal Garment’s factory was forced to shut down after the workers, instigated by Maoist affiliated labor union, put forward unreasonable demands and hindered company operations. Unable to bear escalating losses, the factory-largest garment manufacturer in the country, closed shop. Surath Giri has a great post on this incident.

What did the union gain from this? About 700 workers lost their job and the country lost a good revenue source. But for the Maoists it was a serious coup. They were, once again, able to instill fear among the business owners and industrialists in the country. It is the Mao way or the highway.

And to make the matters worse, Maoists and their sympathizers have successfully changed the message. Now it is  sinful to make profit in Nepal-you are automatically termed bourgeois oppressor and have to be punished. Even if you are an honest entrepreneur, by virtue of making a profit, you have committed grave sin against the people of Nepal.

By demoralizing the business community and equating industrialists with profit hungry monsters, Maoists and their supporters have created an environment of fear and uncertainty in Nepal where no sane person would ever want to invest.

How are the other great pillars of Nepali democracy responding to this Mao style? By copying them, of course. Organizations affiliated with Nepali Congress and UML are equally responsible creating anti-business, anti-profit environment in the country. It is sad though that only the Maoists get criticized publicly and most loudly while the others largely escape the blame.

Cutting off the hand that feeds, seems counter intuitive but put the cynical glasses on and it makes prefect sense.

A prosperous, upwardly mobile and educated mass is the worst nightmare for Nepali political leadership. Then they would not be able to play their childish games- fear mongering, degrading a certain section of population to gain sympathy from the other, accusing one community of being anti-national etc. They need to keep the people poor, angry and hungry to succeed and that is what they are doing now.

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