Kyrgyzstan: Meeting of the FPK coordination working group on IE project

The meeting took place in framework of the PERC Project “Promoting the rights of and representing workers engaged in informal labour relations“ supported by the FNV in Bishkek, 22 of April 2008.

After The Round table on this topic that has been organized by the ICFTU in 2005 the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan (FPK) adopted the Decision on work in the informal sector. Mostly informal employment is wide spread in commerce, agriculture and construction. Big problem is the non-documented employees at the formal enterprises. There is no precise data on how many people in Kyrgyzstan are employed informally. In total population is 5 million, about 1-1,5 million are working abroad, mostly in Russia and Kazakhstan. The working age population makes about 1,4 million. About 700000 are paying social insurance. This might mean that about 50% are working informally.

Commerce sector: huge mass of people is trading at the markets, Bishkek market place is one of the biggest in Central Asia. In 2004 the municipality wanted to introduce the cash apparatus, the sellers applied to the trade unions for help. The trade union was set up. Today The trade unions are set up almost at all market places in Kyrgyzstan. The collective agreement is signed at the Bishkek market place, the market place trade union association has the cooperation agreements. In total the commerce trade union unites 40000 members among whom 25000 are the sellers. Meanwhile the formal sector commerce is almost non-organized. The membership fees are collected in cash on the monthly basis, the fixed sum.

Agriculture: The agriculture trade union unites 300000 members among whom 60% are the self-employed farmers. After the division of the collective farms the trade union helped the collective farmers to receive the plots of land, there were several programmes together with the ILO on the farmers‘ education, labor safety and child work. The membership fees are of fixed amount depending on the size of the land plot, some farmers are paying fees in kind.

Food processing industry: The Food industry trade union unites 12000 members. Recently the trade union was set up at one super-market and several enterprises of foreign capital. The majority of the employees are receiving wages in envelopes.

Transport: In Bishkek there are 4000 private minibuses. Trade union organizes 600 drivers from several routes. The reason for them to unite was that with the help of trade union they are fighting for more profitable routes.

Textile industry: in 2001 21 thousand persons worked in the light industry in Kyrgyzstan, at present there are 195000 persons and 5000 workshops. Trade union unites 25000 persons, the workshops are registered as primary organizations. The trade union collected the data base on all enterprises and they are visiting all enterprises according to the prepared plan and organizing workers.

Construction: in total 75000 workers, among them 7000 are trade union members, mostly from the construction materials industry and road sector.

Then the participants were divided into 2 working groups – branches and the FPK with the aim to prepare the proposals for the campaign to represent, organize and to defend legally those employed in the informal economy in the frames of the IE FNV project.

It was decided to set up the NATIONAL working group consisting of 6 representatives of the branches - commerce, agriculture, food industry, transport, textile, construction, the representatives of the Women‘s and Youth committees, from the FPK – the specialists from the organizing, legal and social – economic departments. The Head of the Group will be FPK deputy chairperson Ryzgul Babaeva.

The mapping of the national situation will be done by October 2008. In October there will be high-level tripartite Round table on IE issues and there the FPK will announce the beginning of the campaign the concrete plan of which will be prepared by the NATIONAL working group till October.

Sergejus Glovackas