The 8.3 earthquake and the 400 aftershocks that shook Nepal since April 2015 have killed over 9.000 people, injured over 23.000, and destroyed or damaged over 750.000 homes. 60.895 trade union members and depends were affected. The sectors most affected were the labour intensive sectors, like real estate (4 % drop), tourism (2.6%), construction (2.3%) and manufacturing (2.2%). In agriculture, much of the livestock sector, which accounts for over 23% of value added was destroyed: loss of over 17,000 cattle and 40,000 domesticated animals. Many arable lands were lost due to landslides. Tourism has been adversely affected with nine out of every ten planned foreign arrivals cancelled. While many jobs have been lost, to reconstruct the houses, an annual requirement of 500.000 workers would be necessary. In order to have this labour force, vocational skill training and decent jobs are necessary. This is what trade unions should ensure during the reconstruction process.
\What did GEFONT and NTUC do?
Confronted with the damages and with solidarity from many corners of the earth, both Nepali trade unions provided relief in the days and weeks after the quake. NTUC leadership visited all 14 affected districts and their affiliates (Health, Teacher, finances, Transport etc.) supplied tents, food, clean water and medicine etc. An NTUC Relief Fund for rehabilitation was created and support provided to members. GEFONT mobilized more than 300 volunteers who helped build 181 transitional shelters and nine schools, distributed food packages for 10.000 families. 22 seriously injured members and 22 families of members who died in the quake were also provided with support.
Support from other WSM partners
GK team gathering donations and equipment
Also the WSM partners in Asia have expressed their solidarity and support. The Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC), and C.CWADU, also WSM partners, gathered donations for GEFONT and NTUC. Another partner in Bangladesh, GK, which runs a Medical College and hospital, has several Nepali students, who, with the help from staff, gathered funds and equipment and drove a team of Nepali doctors and students to Kathmandu for medical support. Facilitated by NTUC, they organized two medical camps in and around Laliptur for construction, commercial and carpet workers. During their mission and various camps, 971 (398 male and 573 female) patients were treated. The trade unions jointly also dedicated the 1st of May celebration to the victims of the earthquake. With SARTUC, they handed over 1 million rupees (8.500EUR) to the Prime Minister Natural Disaster Relief Fund to support but also be involved in and hold the government accountable for the use of the funds.
How do trade unions see the reconstruction phase?
Reconstruction: By Creating Decent jobs, meeting 3-4 September 2015 in Kathmandu

During emergency situations, often decent work is not respected and people work for little money in unsafe conditions. To keep Nepali workers in the country, stimulate the Nepali economy and properly use all the international support given, trade unions are promoting decent work during the reconstruction. Beginning of September 2015, Nepali trade unions under the umbrella of ITUC-NAC, organized an international solidarity meeting with the theme “Reconstruction: By creating decent jobs”. Delegates from government, international trade union community and Nepali trade union movement participated in the meeting. They appealed the Government of Nepal (GoN) to prepare the strategies and campaign of reconstruction of Nepal post-earthquake with focus on Nepali workers. The roadmap has asked the GoN to revise the national employment policy to create at least 200.000 jobs as the reconstruction phase will require huge manpower. GoN should also guarantee Nepali workers 200 days of employment per year and raise minimum wages to 1.000Rps/day for unskilled workers to create decent jobs and stop migration of the Nepali workers. To promote this agenda, ITUC-NAC will ensure representation in decision making processes regarding reconstruction efforts. This roadmap was signed by all three leaders of the trade unions, the Minister of Labour and the representative of the employers’ union.

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