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IndustriALL holds workshops across Kyrgyzstan

10 May, 2016IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliate, the Mining and Metallurgy Trade Union of Kyrgyzstan (MMTUK), held a series of workshops for around 80 union members in different regions of Kyrgyzstan during the last week of April. Organizing and the ways to strengthen solidarity in the trade union were the main themes.

IndustriALL visited several regions and held a string of one-day workshops for MMTUK local unions. As a result, more unionists could participate and contribute to the team building within the local union.

During these union tours, Vadim Borisov, IndustriALL regional secretary, and Eduard Vokhmin, trade union trainer, facilitated the workshops. They provided a trade union consultancy for every local union, using participatory methods of training and defining who will do what in the future according to the plans developed.

The first meeting was held in Bishkek on 25 April with the local union of mobile operator Sky Mobile Ltd, subsidiary of VimpelCom Ltd, operating under the Beeline trademark. The MMTUK local union is the only trade union at VimpelCom, a global provider of telecommunication services operating in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. The participants discussed union actions to strengthen social partnership, possible ways for the local union to contribute to the company’s development, and widening the special tariffs for trade union members.

MMTUK concluded an agreement with the mobile service provider and this plan foresees many benefits and almost free calls for the union members. “The creation of the trade union in a mobile company is an extremely exceptional, unique case, and if the work is set properly and the mutually advantageous conditions and relations are established, the trade union can achieve further growth and create decent working conditions for the company workers,” said Vadim Borisov. 

The workshop for the MMTUK local union at the Kara-Balta Ore Mining Combine was held on 26 April. The main purpose of the discussion was to identify the workers’ position in the possible suspension of production and closure of the enterprise. Around 70 workers are lying idle, receiving only two thirds of their salary. Another 200 workers work part-time. Due to the lack of raw materials, the enterprise is facing bankruptcy. Trade union activists discussed possible ways out of the crisis in order to resume production as soon as possible, to ensure employment and protection against staff layoffs.

The meeting with the unionists of the Altynken gold mine took place on 27 April. Out of 1000 gold mine workers, 720 are trade union members. Participants discussed how to improve social dialogue between the union and the management.

Trade union activists of Kumtor gold mine participated in the workshop on 28 April. This year the local union is about to sign a new collective agreement. The workshop facilitators shared the international experience of the trade union actions at the multinational companies and tried to help the local union to strengthen its position and achieve decent working conditions.

The trade union tour across the MMTUK local unions ended in Bishkek on 29 April, during which the MMTUK approved the affiliation request from the Trade Union of Geologists.

MMTUK also summed up the results of a competition on the best video about the union in three categories: social, music and humor. As part of the union promotion campaign MMTUK also made a trade union video for karaoke.

Kyrgyzstan was chosen by IndustriALL Global Union as a priority country for an organizing project and the MMTUK has since had a steady membership growth.