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Kyrgyzstan: Chinese oil company refuses to recognize union

31 March, 2015A Chinese-owned oil company operating in Kyrgyzstan has refused to recognize the locally elected union, affiliated to IndustriALL through the Mining and Metallurgy Trade Union of Kyrgyzstan (MMTUK). 

After the management at China Petrol Company Zhongda in Kara-Balta rebuffed workers protests against pay cuts and breaches of labour legislation, workers created a local union affiliated to MMTUK. On 30 December 2014 the local union was registered with the authorities as required by law.

The union members' applications to deduct and transfer their membership fees were given to the company, as well as a letter calling for the start of collective bargaining. However, three months on, the membership fees have not been withheld from workers’ wages and collective bargaining has yet to begin.

Workers now report intimidation from the management, which has since established an alternative union under its own control.

The company’s refusal to recognize the union and the disregard it shows to the union's legitimate demands have worsened the situation at the refinery and increased workers’ dissatisfaction. The employer’s actions violate the labour law and the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan, as well as international law, including International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions No. 87 and No. 98.

In a letter to Mr Shi Jiang Guo, General Director of the China Petrol Company Zhongda, IndustriALL's general secretary, Jyrki Raina, said:

"IndustriALL Global Union strongly urges your management to stop violating trade union rights and to abide by national and international labour laws. It is also imperative that your mangement recognize the local MMTUK union and start collective bargaining negotiations." 

IndustriALL has also written to the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan expressing the hope that the refinery would comply with the ILO Conventions ratified by the country and the legislation of Kyrgyzstan. 

IndustriALL urges its affiliates to support the MMTUK local union by sending protest letters to the employer using the form on the right side of this page.