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20 March 2012

ACT NOW! Solidarity campaign - Kyrgyzstan : Possible changes to labour legislation impacts on trade union rights.

BWI affiliates in Kyrgyzstan - the Construction and Building Materials Workers' Union and the Wood and Forestry Workers' Union – report quite alarming news about possible changes in the labour legislation that could lead to serious limitations of trade union rights and make it difficult for the unions to function properly. BWI is very concerned. In few days, on 23 March 2012, the government plans to adopt the new Labour Code. Today the BWI asks you to mobilize massively by signing its solidarity campaign online. It will only take you a minute to send off your message of protest to the government of Kyrgyzstan. Please spread the word to all people you know. If we send enough messages our voices will be heard.

According to the information received from both affiliates in the country, the Ministry of Economy and Antimonopoly Policy prepared a new edition of the national Labour Code that was published on its website on 9 March 2012. The new edition contains only 134 articles - compared to the present 446 articles- and copied from the notorious Georgian Labor Code. For the unions, this reduction of content will not improve but rather worsen workers situation by way of putting them in direct dependance of employers' will. The Kyrgyz unions are surprised that instead of adopting the current edition of the code that was adopted in 2004 to new conditions - the Republic plans to join the Customs Union which includes at the moment Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus-, the new government tries to enforce a radical change in labour relations. This situation is in violation not only of the ratified ILO conventions and international agreements regarding human rights but also the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan.

Article 20 of the Constitution states that no laws limiting rights and freedoms of the citizens can be passed. But many guarantees have been removed from the new draft, such as:

  • workers are no longer guaranteed minimum wages
  • Safe working conditions,
  • Compensations in case of an accident at work,
  • Compensations to family in case of a fatal accident at work.

    In addition, there are no limitations in working conditions of pregnant women and children. In the current Labor Code these categories of workers are protected by 14 different articles.

    The employer will have a right to fire workers without warning, even workers that are on a sick or maternity leave.

    All articles mentioning social partnership and collective bargaining/agreements have been removed.

    The new legislation reflects exclusively the interests of employers. The new Labour Code can lead to a social eruption and destabilization of the situation in the country.

    On 23 March 2012 the government of the Kyrgyzstan plans to adopt the new Labor Code. The trade unions of Kyrgyzstan have officially warned the Prime-Minister that if the government would not take the Labour Code of the agenda of the government meeting on 23 March, the Confederation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan will reserve a right to organize mass protests.

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