Kyrgys unions continue fight against state control

Kyrgystan’s trade unions continue to face state harassment and interference even in the middle of a raging pandemic. 

On March 28, the Parliament’s Social Committee held a hearing where it discussed a draft law on the country’s trade unions. 

Different trade unionists said that the hearing was conducted in violation of statutory procedures and revolved around baseless accusations and repressive measures against labour groups. They said that the proposed law aims to put all labour organisations under state control, interfere and undermine the democratic processes of trade union structures. 

It was reported that the committee has approved the draft law which in turn was passed by the parliament’s plenary. The measure is expected to be transmitted to Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Zhaparov who has the discretion to either sign it into law or veto it. 

“If this law is signed by the President, trade unions in Kyrgyzstan will lose their freedom,” said Eldiiar Karachalov, President of the Construction Workers Union of Kyrgyzstan. 

Karachalov said that the proposed law violates the country's international obligations, such as International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 87 on freedom of association and protection of the rights to organize and ILO Convention No. 98 on the right to organize and collective bargaining.

Karachalov called on BWI affiliates to add their voices in urging President Zhaparov to veto the law and sit down with Kyrgys trade unionists to restart discussions on the passage of a new law that will truly respond to the needs of workers. 

BWI and other global unions expressed their serious concerns over the deteriorating labour rights situation in Kyrgyzstan. Last year, Kanatbek Osmonov, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan (FTUKg) and President of the Kyrgyzstan Forestry Workers Union, was criminally charged and put under house arrest. While the charges were eventually dropped, state harassment of trade unions continue.  

In November of last year, the Office of the Prime Minister barred the FTUKg from holding its December 4 congress, when election for the position of its chairperson was planned.

Send this letter  to and urge Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Zhaparov to veto the law.