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Trade Unions


The history of trade union movement in Nepal is of recent origin. There were no trade unions in Nepal before 1945 as the country was under the family rule of Ranas. Nepal had followed closed-door economy having almost no relations with the outside world. In 1946 All Nepal Trade Union Congress (ANTUC) was formed. In 1947, Biratnagar Workers Union (BWU) was set up. In March 1947 the first workers’ movement took place at Biratnagar for the establishment of democracy. In 1951 ANTUC and BWU became united and formed the first trade union federation in Nepal. The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) in 1953 granted membership to ANTUC. After the democratic change of 1950, the freedom of association allowed the opportunities to many voluntary organizations in the country and the workers, too, felt the need to be united under one umbrella to fight against the exploitation of the management and the government. The unions existed at that time were: Biratnagar Workers’ Union, Cotton Mills Workers’ Union, All Nepal Trade Union Congress, Independent Workers’ Union, Biratnagar Mills Workers’ Association, All Nepal United Workers’ Union, All Nepal Trade Union Organization and Nepal Labour Union. But these unions were merely instruments of political parties without the capacity of free collective bargaining. This is clear from the fact that Girija Prasad Koirala, now, the president of Nepali Congress Party and late Mana Mohan Adhikari, former president of the United Marxist-Leninist Party, were active both in trade unions and their respective parties. After the success of democratic struggle against 104 years of Rana family rule in 1950 freedom of expression and organization became part of political life. The Nepalese political history took a new turn in 1960 when the King staged a putsch, banned the political parties and trade unions and established a partyless Panchayat system in 1962. This system limited the freedom of expression and association but envisioned creating exploitation-free society through the harmonization and co-ordination of the interests of different classes. For this, six different class organizations including Nepal Labour organization were created. As this organization was controlled by the system and also that the central body was heavily politicized, the objective of ensuring the labour welfare remained unfulfilled. Still, some of the noticeable achievements were also made during this period in the field of labour administration, such as, establishment of a separate labour ministry, department and some labour offices and the admission of Nepal into the International Labour Organization (ILO) as a member. Multi-party democracy was restored in the Spring of 1990 after the success of people's movement, in which many professional organizations, including workers had actively participated. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1990 guaranteed multi-party parliamentary system, human rights, constitutional monarchy and the sovereignty of people. It also granted the freedom of expression and association, which has inspired the formation of trade unions. At an early stage, there was mushrooming growth of trade unions. They were heavily divided in the line of political ideologies. Each party has its own unions, if not general federation. With the passage of time, most of these unions could not exist and some of the unions were merged.


  1. Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC)
  2. General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT)3.
  3. Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (DECONT)


Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) was established in 1947 with the objectives of promoting workers rights. The labour movement in Nepal started on March 4, 1947 in Biratnagar against the hereditary Rana rule for the establishment of democracy and advancement of workers’ rights. The ideology of NTUC was based on democracy, nationalism and socialism. After the establishment of democracy in the country in 1950, NTUC became active in the promotion of workers rights to organize, express and struggle for their collective welfare. In 1960 with the dissolution of multiparty democracy in Nepal, trade unions were banned along with political parties for almost 30 years of Panchayat system. With the overthrow of Panchayat polity in 1990 following popular movement for the restoration of democracy, freedom of expression and organization became a part of national life. Nepal Trade Union Congress also revived its organization in 1990 and now works closely to ruling Nepali Congress party in general and Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala in particular. NTUC is the sole federation affiliated to ICFTU in Nepal.

NTUC Affiliates:

  1. Nepal Factory Labor Congress (Affiliated to IMF)
  2. Nepal Tourism and Hotel Workers' Union (Affiliated to IUF)
  3. Nepal Press Union (Affiliated to IFJ)
  4. Nepal Tea Garden Worker's Union (Affiliated to IUF)
  5. Nepal Garment Workers' Union (Affiliated to TWARO)
  6. Nepal Carpet Workers' Union (Affiliated to PSI)
  7. Financial Employees' Union of Nepal (Affiliated to FIET )
  8. Nepal Inter-Corporation Employees Union (Affiliated to PSI)
  9. Nepal Teachers' Association
  10. Nepal Labor Union (Informal Sector Union)
  11. Nepal Transport Workers' Union (Affiliated to ITF)
  12. Nepal Health Professional Association
  13. Nepal National Barbers' Union
  14. Nepal Leather and Leather Show Workers' Union
  15. Nepal Small Hotel and Restaurant Worker's Union
  16. Nepal Wood Workers' Union
  17. Nepal Electric Workers' Union
  18. Nepal Rickshaw Drivers' Union
  19. Nepal Building and Construction Workers' Union
  20. Nepal Shop Workers' Union
Contact Address: Nepal Trade Union Congress,
P.O. Box: 5507
Tel: 527443; Fax: 527469
Web Site:


General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) was established in July 20, 1989 with four founder federations: Nepal Independent Workers Union (NIWU), Independent Transport Workers’ Association of Nepal (ITWAN), Nepal Independent Workers’ Union (NIHWU) and Trekking Workers’ Association of Nepal (TWAN). It is affiliated to Communist Party of Nepal, Unified Marxist-Leninist party (CPN-UML).

GEFONT Affiliates:

  1. NIWU-Nepal Independent Workers Union
  2. ITGWUN-Independent Textile & Garment Workers' Union of Nepal
  3. ITWAN-Independent Transport Workers' Association of Nepal
  4. NICWU-Nepal Independent Carpet Workers' Union
  5. NIHWU-Nepal Independent Hotel Workers' Union
  6. UNITRAV- Union of Trekking, Travel & Rafting Workers - Nepal
  7. ITPWUN-Independent Tea Plantation Workers' Union of Nepal
  8. IPWUN - Independent Press Workers' Union of Nepal
  9. NATU- Nepal Auto - Mechanics Trade Union
  10. CUPPEC - Central Union of Painters, Plumbers, Electro & construction Workers- Nepal (Affiliated to IFBWW)
  11. IGCUN- Independent Garbage Cleaners' Union of Nepal
  12. NIFBWU - Nepal Independent Food & Beverage Workers' Union
  13. NICIWU - Nepal Independent Chemical & Iron Workers' Union (Affiliated to ICEM)
  14. NRPU- Nepal Rikshaw-Pullers' Union
  15. FAWN - Federation of Agricultural Workers, Nepal
  16. CWWD - Central Women Workers' Department and special arrangements

Contact address:
P.O. Box: 10652 Man Mohan Labour Building, GEFONT Plaza, Putali Sadak, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Tel: 248072; Fax: 248073
Web Site:


Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (DECONT) was established on August 14, 1997 after it broke away from NTUC. It is not affiliated to Nepali Congress party but works closely with former Prime ministers Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and incumbent Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba group in particular. This division extends to the grassroots level on factional lines of the political party.

DECONT Affiliates:

  1. Nepal Carpet Workers' Union
  2. Construction and Allied Workers' Union of Nepal (CAWUN)
  3. Agricultural Workers' Union of Nepal
  4. Nepal Transport Workers' Sabha
  5. Nepal Hotel Workers' Union
  6. Garment Workers' Union of Nepal
  7. Nepal Custom and Airport Workers' Union
  8. Nepal Film Workers' Union
  9. Barbers' Union of Nepal
  10. Nepal Commercial Workers' Union
  11. Nepal Rickshaw and Cart Workers' Union
  12. Nepal Small Hotel and Restaurant Workers' Union
  13. Nepal Printing Press Workers' Union*
  14. Nepal Factory Workers' Union*
  15. Nepal Automobile Workers' Union*
  16. Democratic Employees' Union of Banking and
    Financial Institutes of Nepal*
  17. Democratic Health Workers' Union of Nepal*
  18. Democratic Press Union-Nepal*

Contact address:
Baburam Acharya Street, Sinamangal-9, Kathmandu
P.O.Box:13440, Kathmandu
Tel: 00977-1-4486987 Fax: 00977-1-4488486
Web site:http:/

Articles <Top>

Links <Top>

World Trade Union Centres

  • ICFTU International Confederation of Trade Unions
  • WFTU World Federation of Trade Unions
  • WCL World Confederation of Labour

Global Unions

  • EI Education International
  • ICEM International Federation of Chemical Energy, Mine & General Workers' Unions
  • IFJ International Federation of Journalists
  • ITGLWF International Textile, Garment & Leather Workers' Federation
  • PSI Public Service International
  • ITF International Transport Workers' Federation
  • IFBWW International Federation of Building and Woodworkers
  • IMF International Metalworkers' Federation
  • IUF International Union of Food Agric. Hotel, Rest.Cater.Tobac.& Allied Work. Assoc.
  • UNI Union Network International
Labour Related Sitestes
  • ILO- International Labour Organisation, HQ
  • CYBER PICKET LINE World Trade Union Directory
  • Labour Nepal Nepali Labour Web Portal
  • ILOLEX Database of International Labour Standards
  • NATLEX is a continuously-updated database containing references to over 55,000 national laws on labour, social security, and related human rights, and over 300 laws in full text.
  • STF SAARC Teacher's Federation
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