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Kyrgyzstan: controversial trade union law vetoed

28 May, 2021The law on trade unions that would seriously undermine freedom of association in Kyrgyzstan and deprive unions of their independence was vetoed by the President on 27 May.

For two years, unions in Kyrgyzstan have been fighting back against the now vetoed law, deemed to be in contravention of the national constitution and ILO Conventions 87 and 98, ratified by Kyrgyzstan.

The law was returned to the parliament with President’s objections on 27 May. The parliament will now rework it prepare an agreed version. Representatives of the government, trade unions and employers’ associations should be part of the conciliation commission.

“We favour reforms in trade unions and the adoption of an agreed draft law aimed at improving working conditions and strengthening workers' right to freedom of association,” says Eldar Tadjibaev, chair of the Mining and metallurgy trade union of Kyrgyzstan.
There have been numerous objections by international organizations, including IndustriALL, ITUC, ILO and the UN, as well as trade unions from around the world. IndustriALL urged the President to veto the new law, calling on the European Commission to intervene.

Previously, the government of Kyrgyzstan objected to the draft law and 70.000 Kyrgyz workers signed a petition against it. However, the draft law on trade unions was adopted by the parliament on 31 March without consultation with unions and without taking any objections into account.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan says:

“We welcome the fair decision of Kyrgyzstan’s President to veto the law on trade unions which is violation of ILO Conventions and a step back in developing a democratic society. We urge Kyrgyzstan to conduct any trade union law reform in full consultations with trade unions and in line with core international labour standards.”