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Kyrgyzstan: Unions defended Labour Code at the first stage

1 September, 2015In Kyrgyzstan a tripartite working group for the amendments to the Labour Code has agreed on the final text of the bill, which takes workers’ demands and the trade unions’ proposals into consideration.

The working group is composed of representatives from governmental agencies, the business community and trade unions suggested the following amendments to the final text of the bill:

  • Restrictions on the use of fixed-term employment contracts with workers employed by businesses. A fixed-term employment contract can be signed on mutual agreement of the parties and only with trade union consent and for at least one-year period, but no more than three times in succession. The initial text of the bill allowed employers to sign temporary employment contracts without any restrictions currently provided by the Labour Code.
  • The final bill proposes that the employee can submit a claim for collection of unpaid salary within three years from the date the employee found out or was supposed to find out about the fact of unpaid salary. According to the initially proposed amendments, the term to submit a claim for collection of unpaid salary was limited to one year.
  • The bill contains definitions of vocational training, traineeships, internships, as well as the terms and procedure for conclusions of a continued vocational training contract and an apprenticeship agreement.

On 18 June 2015, the government of Kyrgyzstan presented a bill introducing amendments to the Labour Code for a public debate. The government initiated the amendments to the labour legislation under the pretext of ensuring balance between the rights of employers and workers, as well as creating favourable conditions for business. However, the initial draft dramatically worsened workers’ rights and social guarantees for more than 90 per cent of the workers in Kyrgyzstan.

The trade unions of Kyrgyzstan made a stand against these amendments as they contradicted the International Labour Organization’s Convention No. 158 and Recommendation No. 166 on termination of employment. A mass union protest and a flash mob against the Slave Labour Code were held in front the Ministry of Economy and the Government of Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek. The international protest campaign in the form of solidarity letters against such amendments to the Labour Code was launched.

Now the agreed bill will be submitted to the government and later to parliament for consideration and approval.

IndustriALL congratulates its affiliate, the Mining and Metallurgy Trade Union of Kyrgyzstan (MMTUK), with this victory and a significant step forward in strengthening workers’ legal rights in Kyrgyzstan.