The Nepal Communist Party (NCP), which was formed after the merger of two largest communist parties in May 2018, is still struggling to finalise its unification deal, including merger of two powerful trade unions.
A recent standing committee meeting that concluded on December 28 had decided to form a nine-member task force led by Ram Bahadur Thapa to finalise the remaining tasks of the unification.
The task force was asked to submit a report within 10 days on the merger of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), which was under then CPN-UML, and All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) under then CPN (Maoist Centre).
Almost eight months after the formation of NCP, hotel workers unions of the erstwhile UML and Maoist Centre, which still exist as independent entities, have fielded separate panels for the January 25 elections of its Shangri-la Hotel corporate chapter in a sign that the NCP merger process is still facing roadblocks.
The chairman of the Maoist Centre affiliated hotel workers union, Madhav Pande, claimed that UML leaders refused to accept the earlier understanding that called for letting the larger organisation lead.
“Since we have received more votes in the previous elections at the Shangri-la chapter we negotiated with them for the leadership. We were forced to nominate our separate panel for the elections after they refused to accept our leadership,” said Pande.
At the hotel, the UML-affiliated union has fielded Chandra Rai-led panel while Maoist Centre-led union has registered nomination of Buddhi Tamang-led panel for the elections. “Since the organisations affiliated to the trade unions are independent to take their decisions they have fielded separate panels without consulting us,” said Ram Hari Nepal, Province 3 chief of GEFONT.
The merger of the two trade unions remains a big challenge for the party. “As we are the leading trade unions of the country having hundreds of affiliated organisations which are legally registered, it may take some more time to complete the merger process,” said Ganesh Regmi, chairman of ANTUF.
This shows the task force will face more tough times when it comes to finalising the district chapters of the unified party, as the Madhav Nepal-led faction has claimed that party Co-chairman KP Oli has taken the leadership of almost all the districts allocated for UML.
This is the third task force formed after the earlier two failed to finalise the unification process.
After its members failed to forge consensus on issues including changes in the provincial committees, the task force has failed to finalise its report. Earlier, the Madhav Nepal faction had refused to accept the provincial committees formed during his absence. They had also questioned the dual responsibilities for Chief Ministers—Shankar Pokhrel of Province 5 and Prithvi Subba Gurung of Gandaki Province—who are also standing committee members of the party.