The uprising initiated by the hotel workers demanding the implementation of a ten percent service charge is now taking the shape of a fierce brawl between the entrepreneurs and the workers. The situation was created by the aggressive stand taken by both sides against reaching any point of negotiation.
There was much hope when the United Central Committee of the workers put off its strike from 19 November to 11 December. The government formed a high level committee under the chairmanship of the vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, Prithvi Raj Ligal, to address the issue. But the workers refused to recognise the Ligal committee from the moment it was formed.
None of the workers' representatives turned up at the Legal committee meeting of 27 November. Ligal informed Drishti that the representatives of the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) too were adamant that they wouldn't negotiate towards fulfilling the workers' demand. "After much request, the workers finally showed up and presented their case. At present, the issue is in no position to be solved through negotiations," Ligal said.
Hotel entrepreneurs are accusing the workers of trying to disrupt the hotel and tourism industry in the nation. Shyam Kakshayapati, ex-chairperson of Restaurant and Bar Association Nepal, says that customers pay a total of 12.3 percent tax including the Value Added Tax (VAT) and other minor taxes and if they are made to pay another 10 percent service charge the total will reach up to 23.3 percent. "Customers are already affected by the present taxes. What will happen to them if a further 10 percent is added? That's why we are in no position to fulfil the workers' demand. The workers also have to understand this fact seriously," he says.
On the other hand, member-secretary of the United Taskforce Committee, Bishnu Lamsal, says workers will move to a nationwide agitation and accuses the hoteliers