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Court recognizes illegal dismissal of union leader in Kyrgyzstan

10 March, 2016At Jaiyl district court has judged illegal the dismissal of Zhanaydar Ahmetov, chairman of the local branch of IndustriALL affiliate, the Mining and Metallurgy Trade Union of Kyrgyzstan (MMTUK) at Zhongda, a Chinese-owned oil company operating in Kyrgyzstan.

In the 9 March ruling, the court also ordered Ahmetov be compensated for loss of wages while he was off work. At the same time, the court rejected the earlier accusations of defamation and damage to business reputation filed by the company against Ahmetov.

Late in August 2015 Zhongda management dismissed Ahmetov without any specific reason. At the same time, management also challenged the registration of the local branch, put pressure on workers and blocked the union leader’s access to the enterprise.

In response to the company pressure, IndustriALL and its affiliate MMTUK ran a solidarity campaign on LabourStart, which received support from almost 8,000 activists around the globe. Earlier IndustriALL addressed a letter of protest to the company management demanding reinstatement of Zhanaidar Ahmetov.

Zhanaidar Ahmetov praises MMTUK and their experienced lawyers who helped to win. He said, “My special gratitude to Eldar Tadzhibayev [MMTUK chairman], thanks to his team efforts we achieved this victory”.

“In fact Ahmetov was dismissed for forming a trade union and trying to protect the rights of Kyrgyz workers at the factory,” explained Tadzhibayev. He recalled another case at the same company when trade union leader Almazbek Nurayev was also fired for flimsy reasons. In October 2015 Nurayev was reinstated following a court decision in his favour. Unfortunately the company is not keen to abide by court’s decision and has already appealed it in a higher instance court.

IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary Kemal Ozkan said, “We congratulate our affiliate the Mining and Metallurgy Trade Union of Kyrgyzstan and Zhanaidar Ahmetov. We also hope that this time Zhongda leadership will abide by the court decision as the final one and will not try to appeal it as in Nuraev’s case. We know that MMTUK is prepared to fight for their cause even in the supreme court and we pledge our continued support for their struggle for workers’ rights in Kyrgyzstan.”