Informal employment local workshop in Osh region, Kyrgyzstan

On 11-12 March in Osh region, South Kyrgyzstan, workers engaged in informal labour relations local workshop took place. The event was organized in the framework of the FNV PERC project Kyrgyzstan national action plan. It was organized by the PERC in cooperation with the AFL-CIO Solidarity Centre regional office in Biskek.

According the latest Kyrgyzstan Statistical Committee household data research in Informal sector 1.56 million workers or 71 percent of working age population are employed. About 0.5 million of Kyrgyz are working in Russian Federation.

Social economic situation in Osh province (region) is very complicated. It is one of the biggest, with 1.2 million population, Kyrgyzstan regions, one of the poorest and the most depressed. The unemployment rate reaches 50 percent, it has the biggest number of emigrants – mainly to Russia and Kazakhstan. The province borders with Uzbekistan, therefore about 27 percent of citizens are native Uzbeks, and nationality issues are quite complex. Region has basically no industry left. Minimum wages are 15 Euros, average salary – 60 Euros.

During the soviet times the region was oriented towards light industry and provided with textile merchants the whole Soviet Union. Just in Osh cotton plant 20000 employees were working. Nothing has left. Main income of the population is agriculture, small trade and remittances by the migrants. Those who are not employed in public sector – approx. 80 percents of workers - have no other choice but work informally.

Region has very high birthrate, the workforce is young, but practically unemployed, high migration among youth. Radical religious ideologies are spreading.

Lately after the rise of energy and utilities prices, social unrests are often.
In this region more intense international trade unions attention is needed.

The three branch unions were involved in the workshop: textile and light industry, translport and commerce union.

Commerce branch currently unites approx. 2000 market workers and will seek to increase membership by one third.

Transport trade unions focus organizing public transport conductors and car repair shops workers.

Light industry successfully organizes handcrafters and carpet manufactures. This year much of the effort will be oriented towards the social dialogue and collective agreements.