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Workers in Kyrgyzstan left without legal protection

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7 March, 2019IndustriALL affiliates in Kyrgyzstan are calling on the government to restore administrative and criminal liability for violations of the country’s Labour code. A legislative reform launched on 1 January this year has led to a deterioration of labour legislation and is depriving workers of social protection.

The government of Kyrgyzstan first attempted to change the Labour Code in 2015, an attempt which was met with union protests supported by IndustriALL.

The new version of Kyrgyzstan’s Penal code no longer contains articles providing criminal liability for violating labour legislation and labour protection rules.

  • It is no longer an offense
  • to employ staff without signing a contract
  • for an employer to refuse to engage in collective bargaining
  • to illegally dismiss employees who are members of elected representative bodies of employees

On 5 March, the Ministry of justice met with a working group with members from Federation of trade unions of Kyrgyzstan.

Eldar Tadzhibaev, president of the Mining and Metallurgy Trade Union of Kyrgyzstan, said:

“We showed the representatives of state bodies that new legislation does not contain responsibility for violations of the Labour code. We will propose measures to fill these gaps.”

In addition, a moratorium on labour inspections is in place since the New year. In the next two years, labour inspections will only be carried out in emergency cases where workers’ life and health are threatened. Scheduled inspections have been canceled.

Almabubu Zharkynbaeva, president of the National Committee of Trade union of Textile, light, paper and related sectors of the economy, the industry, the scope of services of the Kyrgyz Republic, said:

“Unions can arrange inspections at companies with union presence, which is the case on only 30 per cent of the companies. Labour inspectors must be allowed to arrange scheduled inspections again.”

Vadim Borisov, IndustriALL regional secretary, said:

“The new destroy the foundations of the existing system of labour relations  and violate ILO Conventions Freedom of Association and the Right to Organize, as well as other international core labour standards. IndustriALL stands in solidarity with our affiliates and offer our support.”